October conjures up images of fall foliage and Halloween. With the recent passing of World Mental Health Day, which is particularly notable this year as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to shape our lives, October is a good time for a refresher on the mental health benefits you are entitled to through your health insurance policy.
The pandemic can certainly add to our burden of stress. Understanding the reasons can help us realize that we are not alone and that there are ways to address the stress in healthy ways. How can we be affected? You might be experiencing one or more of the following:
Feelings of loneliness or isolation
Fear of illness
Disruption in the schedules of daily living, including working, eating, and sleeping
Lack of access to preventative or even urgent healthcare
The CDC provides a web page dedicated to coping with the stress of COVID-19. Of course, these stressors are not unique to the pandemic, so identifying them can help us find ways to better manage those causes in general.
Mental health care is covered by most health insurance plans, so now is a good time to review your health insurance policy so you can feel comfortable using those mental health benefits to get and stay healthy. You can do this through your provider’s website or by checking your Evidence of Coverage booklet.
Under the Affordable Care Act, all marketplace and employer-based plans must provide behavioral health and mental health treatment. This includes counseling, inpatient services, and substance use disorder treatment. Even if your coverage is new, pre-existing conditions will be paid for without a waiting period. There are a few short-term policies that do not provide mental health benefits, so it is helpful to check.
Most importantly, mental health is considered a critical component of overall health and wellness. Insurance plans cover treatment so cost is not a hindrance to receiving care that improves the quality of your life.