The Cost of Mental Health Care
In the wake of so many tragic shootings involving our youth, in hindsight it becomes painfully clear that our country has a long way to go to appropriately manage mental health care. Mental health care isn’t given proper attention, and it leads to untreated individuals who become a danger to themselves and society. As a parent, I would like to see big changes in our health care priorities. Unfortunately, there are many obstacles to surpass before we can adequately provide the necessary care for mental illness.
For starters, psychiatric and mental health treatment, whether inpatient or outpatient, is very expensive. Being in the finance department for New Hope, I can attest to the high costs associated with this level of care. The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act was put in place to mandate that private insurance companies treat mental health needs in the same way as any other medical need. As far as I can tell, the insurance companies are not covering mental health care expenses in parity with medical needs, meaning that the average person would have to pay much more out of pocket expense for mental health care, even with insurance, than they would for any other kind of covered medical service. Even though I have seen that many more insurance companies will cover inpatient treatment, they don’t cover much, and they don’t cover for long. This makes it very difficult for a family of average income to afford any form of acute, inpatient care.
There is a stigma associated with mental health that I hope, in light of all the recent media attention on this subject, will dissipate. Mental Health Care needs to be affordable and accessible for everyone, no matter the income bracket. So many tragedies could be avoided if appropriate care was available.