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When it comes to mental health, the issue of insurance coverage must be taken into account. The phrase ‘mental health problems’ can encompass a myriad of issues, from simple situational anxiety, to depression, schizophrenia, alcohol and drug problems, to senile dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. The bottom line is that mental health ailments, like any other type of health concerns, must be addressed.
It is a sad fact that most insurance carriers exempt themselves from mental health coverage. However, this is slowly changing, and some health insurance policies now cover mental illnesses. Most insurance companies that provide for mental health conditions will include the coverage under the medical insurance carrier. They usually provide co-pay for visits to a mental health practitioner or admission to a hospital for a mental health issue. However, if you are admitted to a health facility as an in-patient, you will need to contact your insurance carrier in advance for approval.Understanding Your Mental Health Insurance
It is important to understand your policy, apprise yourself of its limits, and be prepared to pick up the slack after your care. You have a right to a copy of your health plan; it outlines the benefits you are entitled to, the steps to obtain services and the appeals process.
Qualified Practitioners• Primary care provider. The primary care provider is the doctor you see first for health care services;• Physician assistant. A physician’s assistant, or P.A., is qualified to provide health care services with the supervision of a licensed medical doctor.• Clinical psychologist. A clinical psychologist specializes in patient therapy and has a doctoral degree in psychology. • Psychiatrist. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who treats mental complaints. • Registered nurse. A registered nurse has a nursing degree and specializes in patient care. Physicians, physician’s assistants, or psychologists with whom your insurance carrier works, are considered to be ‘preferred providers.’ If you choose to see doctors outside of this network of caregivers, your insurer may not pay and you may be held responsible for the bill.
This also holds true for care provided in “network hospitals” that is paid for by your insurance, while care given in hospitals "out of network" is usually not paid by your insurance carrier and will become your responsibility.
There have been many changes in mental healthcare in the last decade. A multitude of options now exists, and there are a variety of services available, some of which are less expensive and offer viable alternatives to inpatient hospitalization.
• It is important to understand your policy, apprise yourself of its limits, and be prepared to pick up the slack after your care. • If stress, tension, substance abuse or any medical condition is adversely affecting your life, and causing you anxiety, you may want to seek out a qualified mental health professional.• If you feel you have any type of illness, you should contact a medical professional immediately. • In most cases if you are admitted to a health facility for mental illness, you will need to contact your insurance carrier in advance for precertification.• Depending upon your particular plan, services such as day hospital, home-based care, and respite care may be covered. If stress or tension is causing you mental anxiety or a medical issue is interfering with your life, you may want to seek mental health care. If the use of drugs or alcohol is adversely affecting your life, you should seek treatment for substance abuse. In either circumstance, you should seek care immediately before the situation worsens.
This post is brought to you by Argosy University. Drawing upon our more than 30-year history of granting degrees in professional psychology, Argosy University has developed a curriculum that focuses on interpersonal skills and practical experience alongside academic learning. Because getting a degree is one thing. Succeeding, quite another.
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