Many Patients Still Struggle to Get Insurance Coverage for Mental Health Treatment

 

Many patients still struggle to get insurance coverage for their mental health treatment, despite federal laws designed to bring
parity between mental and physical health coverage, NPR reported. The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, passed
in 2008, was designed to ensure that treatment for mental illness and addiction is covered at the same level as physical illness.
In 2010, the Affordable Care Act required small group and individual health plans to cover mental health services at the same
level as medical services. While the laws have been partially successful, patient advocates told NPR that insurance companies
still impose more restrictive standards for mental health claims. A study published earlier this year reported earlier this year
that compared with Medicare, private insurance companies pay 13-14 percent less for mental health care. A study by a research group funded by insurance companies found for the five years ending in 2017, out-of-pocket spending on inpatient
mental health care increased almost 13 times faster than all inpatient care.