Uninsured With Mental Illness and Addiction Disorders Not Covered by State Healthcare Initiatives

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State Healthcare Reforms for the Uninsured Fail to Address the High Percentage of people with Mental Illness and Addiction Disorders

The National Council

It is distressing that there are insurance plans and healthcare reform initiatives that continue to discriminate against behavioral healthcare.

New data indicates that more than one in four adult Americans without medical insurance have a mental illness or addiction disorder, or both.

Many state healthcare initiatives that intended to cover the uninsured are neglecting these behavioral health conditions, according to a report by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare (National Council).

The report is available at http://www.HealthcareforUninsured.org. It is supported by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Mental illness is the leading cause, and addiction is the second leading cause, of disability among adults. Approximately one-third of people with these disorders, living below the federal poverty line, do not have insurance.

"We can effectively treat addiction disorders and mental illnesses and people that suffer from these debilitating conditions deserve treatment," said Linda Rosenberg, President and CEO of the National Council. "It is distressing that there are insurance plans and healthcare reform initiatives that continue to discriminate against behavioral healthcare."

The report reveals that benefits for mental illness and addiction treatment vary greatly across states. Among the report's findings:

  • Based on a study of 18 states, approximately 60% provide equal coverage for mental illnesses in initiatives for the uninsured, but only 28% provide equal coverage for addiction disorders.
  • Basic parity is not enough. More states need to address problems with scope of benefits, co-payments, prior approvals, and shortages of behavioral health professionals.
  • Few states are including mental illness and addiction disorders in wellness and chronic disease management programs.

About the National Council

The National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) association of 1,400 behavioral healthcare organizations. Member organizations provide treatment and rehabilitation services for mental illnesses and addictions disorders to nearly six million adults, children and families in communities across the country.

Contacts
National Council: Meena Dayak, 301-984-6200, ext. 228, MeenaD@thenationalcouncil.org

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