A Re-Examining of Mental Health Insurance

Someone holds up a piece of paper for examining.

If you could meet anyone in the world, who would it be? 

This question is an old saw, a cliche icebreaker, a conversation starter. Interestingly, though, it was given new life recently when President Biden announced a proposed overhaul of mental health insurance policies. 

Chances are that 99.9% of in-the-know Americans would like to answer, “I’d like to meet the people who will make the rules and write the policies.” 

What an opportunity those writers have! Greater than a shot at the Pulitzer, or even the Nobel Prize for Literature. They could earn fame greater than those who drafted the Magna Carta! They could make history! They could write policies easy for the insured to understand, couched in ordinary English. 

They could do away with pre-approvals, post-approvals, reports in quadruple, wait periods before claims can be made, six-to-eight-week waiting times to see only certain “in-network” doctors, etc.

The President has promised rules that would get insurers to pay mental health claims more often, although a “parity” (between physical and mental health payments) committee attempted unsuccessfully to accomplish this in 2008. The new committee, about which details are still to be announced, is charged with seeking out loopholes “which leave patients with too few options in seeking mental health care covered by insurance.” 

While one loophole allowed state and local governments to offer policies that did not have to comply with some rules, this has been closed. This means that 200 additional plans, covering 90,000 more people, will be covered for their mental health care. 

Today, mental health care is more of a priority in the U.S. than ever. The reasons are old and new: Alcohol abuse, drug addiction, COVID-19 (with its ramifications of isolation,) mystery as to handle a new pandemic, disagreement on whether to handle it, new technology including social media, influencers, homelessness, poverty, and more. 

Also, it must be added that there have been great strides in knowledge made in and by the mental health field itself. New means of identifying causes that lead to the need for treatment, advances in psychopharmacology where medicines may be indicated, and recognizing that seeking help from trained practitioners is the first step toward alleviating frightening symptoms. 

In the face of the great need for help, National Public Radio featured the sagas of several families without insurance coverage. They told heartbreaking tales of parents trying to save their children and then losing their homes and life savings because of out-of-pocket fees. For example, it cost one family $100,000 for in-patient substance abuse treatment. Then, some families had to prove such financial duress as to fall into a poverty classification that allowed them coverage by Medicaid. 

While on medical insurance, it might be appropriate to consider the mountains of paperwork that have changed doctoring. Have you been “examined” by a doctor whose fingers never left the keyboard of his computer? (He would have had to take that paperwork home with him had he not done it during the visit.) 

Some peeks behind the scenes: A family doctor had a longtime practice on a barrier island off the coast of Florida. Having graduated first in her class…literally the first woman…she was book-smart and street-smart. She kept you healthy with the latest information and the oldest (a B vitamin that kept mosquitos away). But came the computer age, and with it complicated record keeping, and she gave up. 

Then, there was a young cosmetic surgeon just starting. He and his wife, who had just graduated from law school, bravely and hopefully faced several years of intense work to pay off their student loans. But his paperwork (filing insurance claims) soon became overwhelming. Financially, he was unable to hire someone, and so his wife gave up her first job at a law firm to become his office manager. 

We welcome the promised upgrades to the insurance system, and when these are implemented, we intend to continue–and increase–providing the best service to those needing our skills. knowledge and caring.

Sylvia Brafman Mental Health Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Recognized as the premier dual diagnosis and mental health treatment center in South Florida, the Sylvia Brafman Mental Health Center is a sanctuary for individuals battling mental health disorders. Located in Tamarac and renowned throughout Broward County and Fort Lauderdale, our center offers a comprehensive range of services. These include a Mental Health Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), a Mental Health Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP), counseling, therapy, and psychiatric care. Our dedicated team of professionals provides personalized, evidence-based treatment tailored to each patient’s unique needs.

We specialize in treating a wide range of conditions such as depression, anxiety disorders (including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder), bipolar disorder, PTSD, OCD, schizophrenia, ADHD, and borderline personality disorder. In addition to these, we offer support for those experiencing a mental breakdown and provide a nurturing mental health retreat environment conducive to recovery. At the Sylvia Brafman Mental Health Center, our mission is to empower individuals to regain control of their mental health journey, providing them with the tools they need to navigate their path towards wellness with confidence and resilience. We are passionate about helping each individual build a healthier, happier life. [Sources: sylviabrafman.com, recovery.com, psychologytoday.com, facebook.com, instagram.com, npidb.org, soberrecovery.com, linkedin.com]


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