We all have different needs when it comes to health insurance coverage. Some of us only need coverage for ourselves while others have to cover a spouse, children, or other dependents. Some consumers only require coverage for annual physicals, the infrequent flu, or emergency situations while others suffer with chronic conditions that call for ongoing care. You may want dental and vision coverage as part of your health insurance policy. The point is that you need to explore your options and understand what is covered before you settle on the policy that is right for you. What if your healthcare needs include mental health issues, though? Are there policies available that will help you to pay for the cost of therapy such as psychology, psychiatry, or counseling services?
Unfortunately, health insurance providers are not required by law to offer coverage for therapy services as part of their health insurance policies. This doesn’t mean that they are unable offer such options to consumers seeking mental health coverage, but the law does not mandate this coverage. However, there is a caveat: the parity law. If providers elect to offer policies that include coverage for mental health services, that coverage must be equal to any other health coverage the policy provides for.
In the past, health insurance providers that included coverage for mental health services as part of their policies could differentiate between the coverage for physical and mental care. For example, they might choose to cover 80% of costs for physical health care services but only 60% of mental health care services, completely at their discretion. Consumers in need of mental health services in the past may have faced greater copays, deductibles, and so on for such services as opposed to medical care for physical ailments. In addition, the coverage may have limited the type and scope of treatment covered. Health insurance providers are no longer allowed to exercise this form of inequity due to the parity law requiring that mental health services be covered to the same degree as other healthcare services.
It is, of course, important to remember that health insurance providers are not required to cover therapy or other mental health services at all. But if they do decide to include such coverage, users will not be required to pay more for deductibles and copays than they would for other healthcare treatments. The question then becomes: how can you find providers and policies that will account for your mental healthcare needs? Like any type of purchase, you will simply have to comparison shop to find what you’re looking for.
The good news is that all marketplace plans provide for essential health benefits, which include mental health services, as well as services related to substance abuse. So if you apply for coverage through Obamacare, you’ll have access to coverage for services related to mental health, including counseling, psychotherapy, behavioral health treatment, and behavioral health inpatient services. While private insurance providers may or may not offer coverage for therapy and other mental healthcare services, you should be able to find the coverage you’re seeking through Obamacare.
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