Fixing the Broken Mental Health System
For millions of people, mental healthcare has not been accessible for years due to a lack of mental health resources. Compounding the problem, many insurance policies do not offer coverage for mental health, limit the coverage of therapy, and/or pay a substantially lower percentage of the cost than they do for other forms of medical treatment, all of which can make seeking treatment financially unattainable for many patients and their families.
Obamacare attempts to rectify this, starting January 1, 2014, when all Americans become eligible for mental health services and addiction treatment. Under this plan, insurance companies will be required to reimburse for mental health services if the individual has an eligible policy. Moreover, they will not be able to limit visits for outpatient therapy any more than they do for other medical outpatient visits.
While the intention to offer better care to patients is admirable, there will be unintended adverse consequences to this change if it proceeds as currently planned. It is anticipated that there will be an additional strain on a system that is already at its breaking point due to a lack of mental healthcare resources in many communities.