Insurers used to be able to deny coverage based on mental illness, and in effect that translated to denying mental health treatment to those who need it most. They can’t do that anymore.
Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (PRWEB) November 26, 2013
Out with the old and in with the new. After more than five years of waiting for the final rule on the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, the results are in, and it’s good news according to the Sylvia Brafman Mental Health Center.
“We’re pleased to see that the Parity Act has finally been put into effect,” said Ben Brafman, the founder and CEO of the Sylvia Brafman Mental Health Center. “The final ruling ensures that mental health and addiction must be treated on par with physical and surgical health services. In the past, that wasn’t always the case.”
Insurance companies are now required to provide equal benefits and coverage for addiction and mental health as they do for other medical coverage. This is known as ‘parity,’ and according to experts it is a big achievement for mental health treatment. The law applies to everyone covered under health policies offered by their employers, group plans, and the health insurance marketplace. Medicare and Medicaid are not affected.
“Prior to parity, clients with a mental health disorder or addiction were extremely restricted as far as access to treatment,” said Brafman, a 20-year veteran of the behavioral health industry. “Insurers used to be able to deny coverage based on mental illness, and in effect that translated to denying mental health treatment to those who need it most. They can’t do that anymore.”
Any limitations on coverage must now be disclosed by insurers, including the standards used to determine limitations. Intensive outpatient treatment and residential treatment are also protected by the parity act, meaning that clients aren’t obligated to pay for their own accommodation during treatment. This is a first-time addition to insurance coverage, and establishes fair treatment between mental and medical services.
“Although the new ruling expands mental health treatment, it does not necessarily open the floodgates for everyone,” explained behavioral health expert Brafman. “The law doesn’t require insurers to cover all levels of treatment. It only stipulates that if they provide a certain level of treatment for physical health, they must do the same for mental health.”
This expansion of care appears to be a step in the right direction for cutting down the stigma associated with addiction and mental illness. The final rule will be implemented from July 2014, although we may not see its full effects until the beginning of the following year.
The Sylvia Brafman Mental Health Center is a full service mental health facility located in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Dedicated to helping individuals who suffer from mental illness find a path to living better, The Sylvia Brafman Mental Health Center offers a mental health program and support for a wide variety of mood and thought disorders including: depression, anxiety disorders, anger management, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder. For more information on mental health treatment please contact The Sylvia Brafman Mental Health Center at 1-888-205-2775 or online at http://www.mentalhealthcenter.org.