With news about the new healthcare reform in the media everyday, it’s important to understand exactly what the “new” will bring. For mental health professions, opportunities for patients will soon be offered that, in the past, haven’t been considered important. Professionals within the mental health field patients will benefit from the changes taking place. Understanding the changes, allows practioners to guide patients in the right direction.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA), introduced in 2010 was created to help with the issue of 50 million uninsured Americans who are unable to receive the healthcare they need. By introducing the Medicaid act, the impoverished would be offered affordable insurance, hopefully diluting the number of uninsured in the country. However, stipulations have been made as to who can obtain Medicaid. The ACA is trying to introduce the Medicaid Expansion to diminish this problem.
The new Medicaid Expansion allows anyone to qualify as long as their income is 138 percent of the poverty line. Unlike in the past, where Medicaid was only offered for specific situations, poor- single, or pregnant, with dependents or disabled, the new Medicaid Expansion will expand into the mental health spectrum, which, until now, hasn’t been given much money. This is a first since one in six uninsured will suffer, or does suffer from a form of mental health.
Another benefit to the Expansion, is it will tack on a cost to the healthcare facility when service isn’t provided for Medicaid patients. Most emergency visits that mental health patients make can be prevented by the correct dosage of medicine, the Expansion will make sure that medicine isn’t limited so patients won’t have to spend money and time in emergency rooms.
So what can you as a Mental Health Profession do to help your patients?
It’s simple, become aware of all the benefits that the new healthcare reform will have for mental health patients who are uninsured. By becoming aware yourself, it will be easy to guide patients in what they should or shouldn’t do. A lot of mental health patients are not aware of the changes or benefits they could receive from this expansion or unaware of how to apply for those benefits. Being the helping hand for the patient and the trust that many of them need, will help to ensure less confusion and the ability for mental health patients to obtain the benefits they deserve.