Will Patients Have Mental Health Coverage Under ObamaCare?

As patients continue to sign up for ObamaCare, it’s important for healthcare providers to know what type of services their patients will have.  Mental health services will see some important changes

First, healthcare providers should be aware that mental health coverage will vary state by state.  In those states that have decided not to expand Medicaid, there will still be uninsured individuals who have little or no access to mental health services.

However, in those states that are expanding Medicaid, patients will have more access to mental health services starting in January 2014.  In 2008, the federal mental health parity act expanded mental health services.  The Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) is another important step in improving mental health service coverage for patients.

There are still, however, some limitations that will be placed on mental health services by the insurance companies.  For example, the patient will have a limit to the amount of psychotherapy sessions they can have.  Also, the mental health provider will still need to get authorization when the patient has exceeded the established limits.

Another important aspect of the Affordable Care Act is that patients can no longer be denied insurance coverage because they were previously diagnosed with depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety or ADHD.  This also means that an insurance company cannot cancel coverage due to a pre-existing condition.  Therefore, more patients with mental illness will be able to get treatment.

ObamaCare also incentivizes healthcare providers to take care of patients across the continuum of care not just when the patient has an illness.  These incentives will increase patients’ access to mental health services which often are overlooked.  As ObamaCare is implemented state by state, we will have a better idea of how mental health services will be expanded.

Every office should continue to keep their patients informed about these changes.  An informed patient is a happy patient.

Tell us how your are informing your patients about their coverage under ObamaCare?   Share your ideas with us by clicking on the comment button below.  We’d love to hear from you.

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