4 Weird Things about Mental Health And Insurance…

“Marketplace plans can’t deny you coverage or charge you more just because you have any pre-existing condition, including mental health…”

We're here to help make sense of the insurance landscape for people who receive mental health help.
Photo by Mikhail Nilov

1. Mental Health & Health Insurance

Thanks to the The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 1996 (MHPAEA), you can’t be denied health insurance due to mental illness.

But a 2018 article in USA Today said that insurance companies add roadblocks that discourage professionals from accepting the very people they insure, “…reimbursement rates through private insurance plans were far lower for mental health and substance use disorder treatment providers than they were for other medical providers, relative to Medicare rates. When insurance plans do not reimburse providers adequately, many choose not to participate in the plans’ networks.”

However, that same article suggests–nay–strongly encourages you, should you ever be denied coverage for mental health, to appeal the denial. Click the USA Today link in the last paragraph for more on that process.

Now here’s the part that gets weird:

2. Mental Health and Life Insurance

There’s no laws saying life insurance providers can’t treat you differently (aka charge your more) because of your history. Accodring to Insurance.com you may pay higher life insurance premiums if:

  • You’re on multiple medications
  • Have been hospitalized as a result of mental illness
  • Have other health conditions related to mental illness, such as a history of drug or alcohol misuse
  • You have a history of suicide attempts

And Bankrate.com gives this list of conditions that, if you’ve been diagnosed, may affect what you pay:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
  • Dissociative Disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Psychosis
  • Schizoaffective Disorder
  • Schizophrenia

And don’t lie about your mental health; insurance companies are able to use medical databases to confirm what you tell them–they don’t appreciate being misled.

3. Mental Health Gone Rogue

Some mental healthcare providers are going to great lengths to protect their patients. Verywellmind.com had an interesting article. In it they interviewed a mental health professional who said they only use written prescriptions, don’t use electronic files, and only send their patients to independent pharmacies that don’t use the medical databases. This is great except for one thing…

It costs a buttload and it’s all out-of-pocket.

4. Other Mental Health Options

In an NBCnews article, Sonya Veytsman, LCSW, suggests reaching out to the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI). “They have a helpline that offers free help 24/7. All you need to do is text NAMI to 741741.” The article also said that private therapists will charge as low as $10/hour for clients who need a little financial help getting their services.

There’s several telehealth companies that boast cheaper services.

And if you want to see if you qualify for Medicaid, click here. What’s Medicaid? Well, it “provides health coverage to low-income families and individuals, including children, parents, pregnant women, seniors, and people with disabilities; it is funded jointly by the federal government and the states (Policy Basics).

Before You Go…

I hope this helps–or is at least mildly interesting–moving forward. If you don’t feel right, it’s more than OK to seek help. As the guys from Threads Podcast: Life Unfiltered say, “Healthy people go to therapy.” If you need it, find it.

And subscribe to the BLOG for more posts like this one, or for classics like 4 Important Hormones for Your Mental Health (And Natural Ways to Boost Them), I Wish I Wasn’t the Only Person with Mental Health Issues, and Mindfulness: Powerful Self-Care for Your Mental Health.

Listen to the podcast, new episodes EVERY FRIDAY.

Thanks for checking in. Take care of yourselves. Hope we see you back!


Christopher Tallon writes, podcasts, and…wait a second. Are you actually reading this? High fiveFollow me:

Website | Instagram | FaceBook | Twitter | Podcast

Share this!