Is Health Insurance Also Available For Mental Health Patients?
The American Government has implemented changes, making it mandatory for every citizen to have a health insurance policy. But does the rule apply to everyone? Insurance companies should be particularly happy because they will get many customers who previously had no health insurance. Statistics show that approximately 47% of Americans do not have any health insurance policy.
If 47% of Americans do not have access to health insurance—or refuse to invest in insurance policies—can people with mental health problems have access to health insurance and its many benefits? Unfortunately, the facts on the ground are entirely different as far as health insurance for the mentally ill is concerned. Mental health care services are inadequate or even nonexistent for segments of the American Society despite the implemented reforms.
[su_quote class=”cust-pagination”]“Maybe we all have darkness inside of us, and some of us are better at dealing with it than others.” — ― Jasmine Warga [/su_quote]
Why are insurance companies shying away from mental health patients?
The access to mental health care begins with the promise that if an adequate supply of services exists, the population will have access to these services and also obtain health insurance for their healthcare needs. Unfortunately, there is a significant shortage of mental health professionals in the United States. The situation is drastic in some of the underserved parts of the country.
Also, funding for inpatient psychiatric beds and long-term behavioral health facilities has been shrinking in the country for some decades. As such, it is clear why the issue of access to health insurance has become a problem for many who are in desperate need of psychiatric attention.
Patients reluctant to invest in health insurance because of stigma and denial
Mental health patients are often the target of discrimination. The stigma they face leads them to believe that mental health problems are unacceptable in the society. Therefore, it is quite common to notice patients with mental health problems denying their illness, believing that they do not need any treatment. Factors like the race of the patient, age, and health beliefs can also influence the decision of the individual to access health care. The denial expressed by mental health patients creates a sense of complexity during their interactions with mental health professionals.As such, they may not disclose the essential aspects their symptoms, fearing the consequences of these disclosures.
Another factor is the state and federal laws concerning the involuntary hospitalization of people with mental illnesses. These laws were designed to safeguard and protect the rights of the patient, and in most cases, people who are addicted to substances. An issue with mental health is not an addiction and, therefore, state and federal governments need to show a degree of flexibility. This would ensure that mental health professionals can provide their patients with the care they need and eventually develop a trusting relationship with the patient.
The currently available health insurance policies also create barriers
The health insurance industry has imposed a number of barriers that are discriminatory and even illegal for mental health and addiction services. The psychiatric community has debated these barriers the since the introduction of managed care surrounding the policies and procedures of health insurance companies.
Several organizations have argued successfully that the policies offered by health insurance companies encourage psychiatrists to provide reductionistic services. The policies also discourage psychiatrists from adopting continued treatment approaches to develop the trust between the patient and the doctor.
Americans with mental health disorders have often been discriminated against. They are required to pay higher copayments, charged higher deductibles, and even restricted from visiting doctors and their stay at the hospital.
[su_quote class=”cust-pagination”]“Mental health needs a great deal of attention. It’s the final taboo, and it needs to be faced and dealt with.” —Adam Ant [/su_quote]
With the barriers imposed by health insurance companies and the other factors above, it is clear that health insurance for mental health patients needs to be improved.
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