Marking today’s opening of the health exchanges, Care for Your Mind shares information and resources about who has to have insurance, what’s involved in enrollment, and what we know about mental health care coverage.
Millions more will now have access to mental health care
If you’re looking for health insurance, you have some new options! Today the health exchanges are open for business. That’s because today is the first day of the enrollment period for the health exchanges established under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to enable the purchase of health insurance.
Here we are providing links to information covering the individual mandate, enrollment in a health exchange, and what is currently known about mental health coverage. Do you know how the ACA is changing health care?
The ACA requires most individuals living legally in the United States to have health insurance (the individual mandate). Find out if you are required to have insurance and what happens if you don’t.
Medicaid has expanded: many people will become eligible for mental health coverage through Medicaid, even though they weren’t before.
When can you enroll? Enrollment in the health exchanges begins today and runs through March 31, 2014.
Expect equal treatment for mental and physical conditions
What can you anticipate for mental health coverage? Something more and better, we hope! Under the ACA, mental health care is considered an Essential Health Benefit (EHB) and, in most cases, must be covered by insurance plans.
We don’t know yet how this coverage will be addressed in terms of treatment co-payments, length-of-stay allowance, etc. However, states must select a benchmark plan that serves as a more detailed explanation of benefits The American Psychiatric Association is helping its members understand the mental health parity provisions.
The more we can understand the way the changes affect people living with depression and bipolar disorder, the better we can advocate for improvements.
Will you be shopping for insurance in the health exchanges?
Over the next few months, we hope you’ll tell us about your experiences with enrollment:
- what kinds of benefits have been offered
- what has been omitted
- what costs have you been asked to carry as a patient
- what is better for you, and what is not