Health Insurance: Obama to Enforce Mental Health RulesBy: Erika Watts - November 11, 2013
Just after President Barack Obama issued an apology to the people who have lost their healthcare coverage thanks to Obamacare, the Obama Administration has announced plans to implement new rules regarding mental health coverage. Five years ago, former president George W. Bush signed a law that guaranteed mental health parity, but it has taken half a decade for Obama to fully implement the law.
In what may be considered a win for Obama by some, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius made the announcement of plans to fully implement the mental health law starting Friday. “For way too long, the health care system has openly discriminated against people with behavioral health problems,” Sebelius said. “This is the largest expansion of mental health coverage in more than a generation.”
The law will guarantee that most insurance providers treat mental health issues and addiction problems with the same regard as physical conditions. For example, people who need to meet with a mental health provider will pay co-pays and deductibles that are comparable to those paid to doctors and surgeons.
Similar visit limits will also be in place. With some insurance companies, people are only covered for a certain number of visits with a mental healthcare provider per year. Under the new law, should insurance companies choose to enforce limits on such visits, they will have to be comparable to limits in place for medical and surgical benefits.
Many people believe that the implementation of this law could potentially decrease the occurrences of mass killings and other violent acts committed by people with mental issues, such as the Newtown, Connecticut massacre. Since most people with coverage will have equal access to mental healthcare, they should be able to get the help they need or could at least have the opportunity to throw up red flags for providers.
Former Representative Patrick J. Kennedy of Rhode Island, a co-sponsor of the 2008 law, said the rules should help veterans. “No one stands to gain more from true parity than the men and women who have served our country and now need treatment for the invisible wounds they have brought home from Iraq and Afghanistan,” he said. Considering that more soldiers committed suicide than died in battle last year, the new rules should go a long way towards helping veterans.
“We feel actually like we’ve made a lot of progress on mental health as a result in this year, and this is kind of the big one,” said a senior official with the Obama Administration.
What do you think of the new rules regarding mental health coverage? Respond below.[Image via YouTube]