On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act enacted by Congress in 2010. The only provision that was struck down was the federal government’s ability to coerce states to expand their Medicare program to help cover the poor.
Mental health care will benefit much like regular health care under the new law.
Under the provisions of the new law, people with low income and who cannot currently afford insurance will also have greater access to an expanded version of Medicaid, the federal/state program for the poor and disabled. It’s expected that eventually the new law will help 30 million more Americans enjoy health care coverage.
Although many of the law’s provisions will take years to fully implement, this is Psych Central’s analysis of the Affordable Care Act, as it pertains to mental health care:
With more people obtaining either private insurance or joining an expanded Medicaid program, the bet is that more people who have inexpensive access to mental health treatment.
It also means an insurance plan can’t cancel your coverage for a pre-existing condition, something that was problematic for many in the past.
Research suggests that this sort of integrated, coordinated care is ultimately beneficial to the patient. It can help catch health issues before they become more serious concerns. It can also ensure that if a person gets a life-threatening diagnosis, they’re also seen by a professional for their emotional health needs.
This helps to ensure that seniors who need their psychiatric medications can continue to afford to take them.
Much of the law will be implemented in pieces over the next five to 10 years, but some components of the law are already in place. These components include insurance companies being forbidden to put a lifetime limit on the amount of health care dollars they spend on any single individual, and insurance companies being forbidden to deny coverage to children with pre-existing conditions.