There is a broad spectrum of diseases and disorders that fall under the category of mental health, and in the past, health insurance coverage for such issues could best be described as spotty. But Obamacare, in an effort to cast a wide net of coverage for traditionally undeserved groups, included provisions for behavioral health, collectively referring to those with mental health conditions and/or substance abuse disorders. So if you’re interested in finding an insurance policy through the healthcare marketplace or you’re hoping to qualify for free or low-cost coverage via Medicaid, you should know that your coverage almost certainly extends to include some mental health services.
The problem for many facing mental health issues is multi-fold. First, there is a stigma associated with mental health conditions. So even if you know that you’re dealing with depression, anxiety, an eating disorder, phobias, ADD, a personality disorder, addiction, or other behavioral health issues for which treatments may be covered under Obamacare, you might not necessarily seek treatment. Or you might assume that such conditions don’t qualify for health insurance coverage because they have not traditionally been covered under private policies. However, Obamacare ensures that individuals with marketplace policies are covered for such scenarios, and it also requires most employers to provide for this type of coverage in their benefits packages.
Furthermore, under Obamacare, many preventive services for patients dealing with mental health disorders and substance abuse problems are also covered. The bigger issue for many people is that they remain unaware of their mental health disorder or they have never been diagnosed. Many people suffering from depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder, for example, simply find ways to cope without ever realizing they are living with a potentially debilitating disorder – one for which there is help available. But thanks to preventive coverage for services like behavioral assessment and screenings, patients who suspect they are coping with mental health conditions can now receive the testing, diagnosis, and treatment needed to combat behavioral health disorders, just like any other medical condition.
Even better is the fact that healthcare reform has made it illegal for patients to be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions. Mental illness and other behavioral health disorders are included. So those who have been coping with mental health issues need no longer fear being denied coverage due to depression, OCD, PTSD, schizophrenia, or other mental health diseases or disorders. But you will have to see what services are available under the policy you choose. And then the onus will be on you to undergo testing before taking advantage of any available mental health services.
Like any type of health insurance coverage, your policy is only as good as your willingness to take advantage of the services offered. So whether you suspect you have a behavioral health condition or you’ve been diagnosed with a disease or disorder, you’ll need to find out exactly what type of care is available under your particular policy and then take the initiative to use the provided services.
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