The media has created a craze about the new healthcare reform, and mostly the information received is about the push-back from politicians, however the new healthcare reform that is already in place will have a positive impact for mental health care providers, and in this article we will outline some of the reasons why.
Prior to now, health insurance carriers have had the ability to refuse to sell or renew insurance policies for pre-existing conditions that are based on a person’s past health records and/or mental health. Under the Affordable Care Act, passed in 2010, many positive things already begun. The fact that since 2010, health insurers have no longer denied children coverage for pre-existing conditions is a positive change for children across our nation.
Other positive results are that children up to age 26 can stay on their parents insurance and no health plan can have a lifetime or annual limit on certain benefits or rescind coverage if an individual gets sick. A few great things still to come: insurers will not be able to charge more to the sick than to the healthy; premiums may vary based on a few factors such as family size, age, tobacco use, etc. and best of all for our industry is that health insurers will no longer be able to discriminate based on a person’s mental or physical disability.
Here lies the opportunity for mental health counselors and therapists. Due to the new “guaranteed issue”, everyone who applies for coverage must be offered health insurance. The fact that under this Act, people cannot be excluded from health care due to pre-existing conditions means that people with mental illnesses can now get the help they need from mental health professionals and it will be covered by their insurance policy.
The healthcare reform also removes the limitations of how many professionals an individual with a policy can see. Brace for the positive impact that the ACA will have on your practice.
5 Ways to Prepare for Affordable Care Act Implementation
- Gain professional competence in healthcare reform topics.
- Plan for an influx of newly insured clients; also determine if new staff and equipment will be needed.
- Identify opportunities to provide services to minority populations and or cultural niche programs.
- Develop new services to meet the needs of the population.
- Participate in statewide planning efforts.
Information provided from the American Mental Health Counselors Association. For more information on how to become a member, please visit their website: http://www.amhca.org.
We will also be updating our blog often to continue to provide information related to how the healthcare reform affects your practice.