The Article Discusses Issues Mental Health Practitioners Have With Health Insurance Companies
Mental health problems affect millions of Americans across the country. Major depression, substance abuse disorders, mood disorders and psychosis are an everyday reality for many Americans and their families. Despite living in a country with advanced health care options, many people living with a mental illness struggle to afford care. It would be easier for them to access mental health services if insurance companies stopped creating barriers for patients and providers.
The Mighty, a community and publisher for people facing health challenges, featured attorney Katie Spielman of DL Law Group. In the article, which discussed parity issues with mental health coverage, Katie discussed the burden many mental health patients and their providers face due to a broken health care system that favors insurers.
Many patients struggle to get insurance claims approved. Mental health practitioners suffer financially and professionally as a result of issues with insurance coverage.
Mental Health Parity and Issues Providing Mental Health Services
In 2008, federal lawmakers passed a mental health parity law that required insurance companies to provide equal benefits for physical and mental health. Mental health parity expanded when the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act went into effect. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, signed into law by Barack Obama in 2010, also made mental health and substance abuse treatment essential health benefits.
Despite these federal laws, mental health services remain out of reach for many patients. In California, which has the highest rate of unmet mental health needs in the United States, many patients have to pay out of pocket for services. An estimated 42 percent of California mental health practitioners do not accept insurance. This is not the fault of mental health practitioners, but insurance companies who often refuse to allow more providers into their network. There are also numerous problems associated with being an in-network practitioner.
Due to high out-of-pocket expenses, patients may be unable to pay practitioners for mental health services. Even in cases where insurance companies cover services, the amount and rate of reimbursement is often not enough to cover overhead expenses for running a private practice.
When mental health practitioners accept insurance, many have issues getting claims to go through. It is not uncommon for practitioners to remain unpaid.
Despite being required by law to provide equal access to mental and physical health, it is generally difficult to hold insurers legally accountable for the numerous parity issues facing patients and practitioners.
We Help Californians Fight Health Insurance Companies
Mental health parity issues affect millions of Americans, especially here in California. We strongly encourage you to read The Mighty’s article on this issue to learn more.
If you have questions about how to resolve issues with an insurance company who wrongly refuses to provide mental health coverage, then please give us a call at (888) 910-3980 or use the contact form on our site.