What’s the Insurance Coverage Outlook for OCD Treatment?

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Apr 01, 2014

There’s no question that the health insurance universe is changing. So what does that mean for OCD sufferers and their families? Will the Affordable Care Act (a/k/a Obamacare) change the landscape? Will access to care be easier? Cheaper? Better? Worse?

It seems like the best answer to those questions is, Maybe.

The ACA is full of promise for both mental and physical health patients. Mental health coverage is mandated to greatly expand and the Act includes millions of extra dollars for treatment and prevention of mental illnesses. It says you can’t be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions, a huge benefit for persons changing insurers or getting coverage for the first time. It offers expanded coverage for disabled and low-income persons through Medicaid. And states can opt out of the federal program by creating their own state-run insurance exchanges, an option that could result in better-run programs with fewer layers of bureaucracy. This is all good.

But there have been so many politically-motivated exemptions, delays, and court battles that it’s hard to know what the future may hold. One thing is certain for OCD sufferers, though – knowledge is power.

Even under the old rules, your insurance company is responsible for providing you with adequate treatment by properly trained practitioners. Since OCD treatment is evolving rapidly, it becomes important for you to understand where to go for the right treatment and to insist on your right to it. Beyond OCD, a non-profit organization devoted to better understanding and treatment of OCD, has a number of resources on its website, BeyondOCD.org, to help you get the treatment you need. A member of its panel of experts, Dr. Fred Penzel, has an article about understanding and fighting for your rights that goes into detail on the subject of insurance. Shana Doronn, LCSW, PsyD, writes about The ABCs of OCD, Disability, and Treatment with a guide to navigating issues with insurance and public benefits.

Last November, the Obama administration announced the final rules of the 2008 Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act that would require insurers to cover mental health and substance abuse disorders. Presuming it is implemented in a timely fashion, it, along with the Affordable Care Act, will expand mental health coverage to include over 60 million people.

That’s good news, and it could have a major positive effect on OCD diagnosis and treatment, especially in rural and under-served areas. But it doesn’t change the fact that the more you know about your coverage and treatment options, the more likely you are to get the treatment you need at the lowest possible cost to you.

Beyond OCD is committed to bringing the best and latest information to OCD sufferers and their loved ones. We invite you to visit BeyondOCD.org and explore the many resources we offer to help you in the quest to go Beyond OCD.

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