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Judi's avatar

How will the bailout bill affect mental health coverage in our country?

Asked by Judi (39803points) October 4th, 2008

I read with interest how there were provisions in the bail out bill to mandate insurance coverage for mental health. Does anyone know how this will practically play out? Will they have to cover in-patient mental health? Will premiums skyrocket?

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10 Answers

La_chica_gomela's avatar

in the bailout? could you link the article? i didn’t know there were ANY provisions about health care in the morgage-crisis bailout bill. i would be very interested to read this.

Judi's avatar

Here’s a link to an article that mentions it, but only in the last paragraph. I can’t find much info, that’s why I asked here. http://wcco.com/realitycheck/bailout.bill.pork.2.832318.html

Judi's avatar

Here’s a link to the bill. It is on the first page.
http://banking.senate.gov/public/_files/latestversionAYO08C32_xml.pdf

EmpressPixie's avatar

I thought this was a great article that explained it well: http://consumerist.com/5059240/what-does-the-bailout-mean-for-you

To quote:
“Mental Parity

Health insurers are now required to treat mental health issues the same as they would any physical illness. It also prevents health insurers from making their mental health benefits any more restrictive than other covered illness.

Most importantly, without mental parity, we wouldn’t have a bailout bill at all. The Senate couldn’t introduce a new bailout bill from scratch, so they cut and paste the bailout bill into the relatively uncontroversial mental parity bill. Creative, isn’t it?”

But make sure you also read this:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27011585/

Which says: The mental health parity bill only affects insurance policies that currently cover mental health, and only plans that cover 50 or more employees.

Judi's avatar

So do you think insurances are going to start excluding mental health all together when they renew policies?

La_chica_gomela's avatar

Interesting! Thank you both for the info!

wundayatta's avatar

I have no idea what it means. Whatever the deductible and copay is for physical health, it will have to be the same for mental health. But how will they define mental health? Are job counsellors therapists covered under MH? Is counselling for the worried well covered?

Yes, Judi, it will increase the cost of health insurance. Employers will either increase copays and coinsurance rates, or will cut back on benefits, or will cut back on raises. They will demand give-backs from unions.

However, those of us with real serious diagnoses will no longer get bankrupted trying to get well. I’ve probably spent more than $6000 so far this year on mh, and if the parity bill had been in place, it probably would have been only $1000.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

Hey, I was just reading this article that seems highly relevant to your question.

According to the article, yes, they will have to in-patient mental health, and as far as premiums,
“The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the new requirement will increase premiums by an average of about two-tenths of 1 percent.”

I hope that helps!

Judi's avatar

souds well worth it to me!

Paula12Puritan's avatar

I live in MA and we have a Parity Law-but it limits Parity to certain diags…most of them are “biologically based”....

I still haven’t got a true understanding of this new Federal Bill and as part of an health insurance company I don’t think many people really understand what the bill is mandating.

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