New Rules for Insurance Covering Mental Health

This, from The New York Times, is some very good news out of the Obama administration, with new rules being issued that mandate that health insurers must provide equal coverage for mental illness as for general health care. I find this to be an immensely important move in efforts to provide more help to people in need and, in addition, to further legitimize that mental health issues are not just “made up” but real ailments that effect millions of people across the country.

One of the main reasons cited by the administration is an aim to curb more gun violence, which is, unquestionably, a worthy cause.  But these changes go much further.  Mental illnesses like depression and anxiety are estimated to effect upwards of 25% of the population at any given time and have profound and negative impacts on people’s home lives, work, and overall fulfillment. Allowing insurance holders equal access to mental health resources and treatment will undoubtedly contribute to better productivity on the job or school, healthier interpersonal relationships, and higher levels of motivation.  Add to that a decrease in the number of suicides, sick days, divorces (or other relationship collapses) and you can begin to paint a picture of an overall healthier population.

Mental health and mental illness is a complex and often confusing matter.  It is easy, for somebody not afflicted with any particular mental health issue to brush off the extremity of circumstances for those who are living with mental illness; to say “they’re just over reacting, if they just try harder they’ll be fine.”  I can assure you all, that it is nothing so simple.  Mental illness is a real thing, from the extreme (and fortunately relatively uncommon) forms like sever schizophrenia or bipolar depression, to the the very common, almost ubiquitous, types like social anxiety and depression.  These illnesses effect people daily.  Making a move to equate them to other health issues removes another myth-making barrier and works to further say, “this is real, this needs treatment.”

I know I will personally be watching this issue closely.  I hope that it rolls out smoothly and effectively. In addition, I hope that anybody in need of treatment, that previously may have been more elusive or cost prohibitive can now hope to get some relief.  Once more, for this move the administration I must applaud.

Thank you.

~ by Nathaniel on November 8, 2013.

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