Gretchen is optimistic that hers will.
The federal government is in shutdown mode but the health insurance marketplaces are open for business. People with mood disorders and their families have the opportunity to explore the pros and cons of different insurance plans that become effective in January 2014. Mental health care must be covered, but will the different levels of plans pay for the services you need? What will you need to pay for yourself?
Gretchen, who lives with a mental health condition, is hopeful that her new insurance will cover her preferred therapist and psychiatrist. Here’s her story and her thoughts about mental health advocacy.
My health insurance has been inadequate
I have been very fortunate to have found a therapist and psychiatrist that communicate with each other. They work together as advocates for me when I have been unable to do this for myself. My challenge has been being able to afford such good care.
Because of my diagnosis, my employment has not always been consistent. And currently, neither are covered under a healthcare plan. Both of these factors have added to the challenge of finding adequate mental health care. As a result, I have paid my mental health expenses out of my own pocket and with the constant help of concerned family members dedicated to my wellness.
The promise of the ACA
With the Affordable Care Act coming into place this fall, I am optimistic that I might find the coverage that may help me in this challenge. After looking through the links provided through the CFYM website and the information provided by the federal government, it has become clear to be me how important this opportunity will be for many people who struggle with mental health issues.
Our organizations need to reach out to their constituencies
I want to see access to this information in a prominent place within organizations such as DBSA. Illinois received $27 million in federal money to inform community organizations on the ACA, and Gov. Quinn distributed it to 44 different groups. Looking through the list of organizations, there seemed to be a missed opportunity in reaching those who struggle with mental illness and the families who care for them. Go beyond posting information on your websites. Send informed people to local support group meetings with appropriate and helpful information about mental health care and insurance under the ACA.
I feel this would be an excellent chance for organizations such as DBSA to significantly help a target audience who often receives secondary status in the issue of adequate healthcare. Being informed is the first crucial step.