#CoverageMatters: Getting Good Care for My Physical and Mental Health
January 17, 2017
In 2013, I got my first assignment for my school newspaper as a photo-journalist at the Boston Marathon. For a few moments, I left my assigned spot to get a coffee with a friend. Then the bombs went off. My assigned spot was rubble. I saw the horror of blood and body parts. Flashbacks and physical distress forced me to eventually leave school.
I’ve suffered from anxiety and depression for many years. It’s even taken a toll on my physical health. After many misdiagnoses, I finally learned that I am living with leukopenia, a decrease in the disease-fighting cells in my blood.
With my post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and physical problems, no coverage was not an option. My mother told me about the Health Insurance Marketplace at HealthCare.gov, and we found a plan that was perfect for me.
I hadn’t realized that the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 requires insurers to provide the same level of coverage for mental health and substance use disorder treatment that they do for medical care. This means they can’t charge higher copays or enforce stricter treatment limits for my mental health care.
The Affordable Care Act strengthened these protections by including mental health care and substance abuse treatment among the essential health benefits that all plans sold on the Marketplace must cover.