Healthcare Concerning Mental Illness Essay

1584 Words 7 Pages
Healthcare Concerning Mental Illness
As of now, there is no general consensus that would require states to cover mental health (Cauchi, Landess, & Thangasamy 2011). Out of the 49 states that do cover mental illness, there are three main categories that vary considerably; mental health “parity” or equal coverage laws, minimum mandated mental health benefit laws, and mental health “mandated offering laws.” Mental illness is as serious a condition as any other health condition. It should be covered as such. Mental health parity has come a long way over the years. With health care reform underway, this issue is bound to come up. Hopefully the reform can enact a program that will lead to more mental health parity.
Mental health parity means
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Even though more private insurance companies included mental health coverage, data collected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that, “coverage limitations have become more stringent over the same time period (Berry, p. 186, 2006).” Meaning that, there was an increasing amount of separate mental health insurance limits. In the early 90’s a parity centered strategy was adopted by mental health advocates as an antidiscrimination measure (Berry, 2006). In 1993 the Clinton administration tried to enact a national health insurance program where generous provisions were made for mental health care (Berry, 2006; New, 2010). The administration’s efforts were in vain. The program was rejected by congressional Republicans and a few democrats. After much work by Senator Domenici and Senator Wellstone, President Clinton signed the Mental Health Parity Act which was enacted in 96 and took effect in 98.
The Mental Health Parity Act prohibited dollar limits on mental health insurance (NAMI, 2011). The usual limit for mental health coverage is $50,000 for lifetime and $5,000 for annual. The usual limit for physical disorders is $1,000,000 for lifetime and no annual limit. The act did not cover substance abuse treatment. It only applied to employers already offered benefits for mental health, being that it did not mandate coverage. Businesses with 50 or less employees are excluded. Employers are

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