The Affordable Care Act: A Step-up In Providing Mental Health Care

Listen up Parents

Parents recognize that being able to keep their kids on their insurance policies until age 26 will help them in getting the health care they need. Most parents view this benefit as being great for routine medical care and perhaps even hospitalization – most do not recognize its value in treating those with mental illness.

Frequently, serious mental illnesses manifest themselves before a person attains the age of 25. This age group, 18-26 were formally a large component of those without healthcare insurance before passage of the Affordable Care Act.

Another way the Affordable Care Act has made it easier to get treatment for mental health issues is the removal of the “pre-existing condition” exclusions that are now removed from all health insurance. Even a person diagnosed with depression can not be denied health coverage for this pre-existing condition.┬áMental illnesses can be treated. If you suffer from anxiety, depression, an eating disorder or even have thoughts of hurting yourself you can lead a productive and fulfilling life if you seek treatment.

Left untreated these disorders have a huge societal cost – absenteeism, loss of productivity, domestic violence and suicide all have a negative impact on individuals as well as society.

Barriers for Mental Illness’s?

Barriers still exist to folks seeking treatment for mental disorders. Frequently coverage for mental health is handled differently from other medical coverages with limits on how long therapy can be continued and still be covered as well as the perceived stigma that patients have of being labeled “mentally ill.” While the Affordable Care Act will likely lead to improved coverage for mental health, the fear of stigma for seeking treatment is not addressed by the bill.

Nevertheless, by eliminating pre-existing conditions and allowing previously uninsured young people the ability to seek appropriate psychiatric treatment it is clear that the Affordable Care Act will be able to make a significant impact to improve the lot of those who need access to this kind of healthcare.

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