“Under state and federal laws, insurers are required to offer equal coverage for mental health and medical conditions. It’s what mental health and substance abuse advocates call parity. A patient’s access and costs should be no different if they are seeking mental health care than if they were in need of medical care.
On Wednesday, the National Alliance on Mental Illness released a report that found several barriers to mental health treatment, based on a survey of 2,720 people with mental illness or their families and an analysis of 84 insurance plans in 15 states, including Maryland.
Survey respondents said it was harder to find a mental health care provider than a medical one, and much harder to access inpatient care. A third of respondents said their mental health or substance abuse care was deemed not medically necessary — twice as many as were denied medical care by their insurers. And more respondents said out-of-pocket costs for mental health care were more of a barrier than they were for medical care.
“Despite the federal and state parity laws, discrimination still exists toward mental health and substance use conditions,” Mary Giliberti, the group’s executive director, said in a statement.”
Source: BaltimoreSun.com – April 3, 2015