The Affordable Care Act has brought about some positive changes to the health care system, including giving more people access to health insurance, expansion of Medicaid coverage, and providing free or low cost health insurance to many Americans through their state. In terms of mental health care coverage, though, there are still challenges many Americans face.
Two positive aspects of the Affordable Care Act as it relates to mental health care are: the law allows young adults to remain on a parent’s health insurance plan until the age of 26; and the law also prevents insurance companies from denying coverage due to a pre-existing condition. These are both positive provisions from the standpoint of mental health care, since most mental illness manifests prior to the age of 26 and those with known mental health conditions cannot be denied coverage on that basis.
Mental health impairments, of course, can be seriously debilitating for those who suffer with them. Mental health issues can be serious enough to prevent one from being gainfully employed. In such cases, the individual may be qualified to receive Social Security disability benefits.
The Social Security Administration breaks mental health impairments down into various categories, including affective disorders, psychotic disorders, personality disorders, and various other disorders. This information can be found on the Social Security Administration website. Regardless of the specific mental health impairment a SSDI application is based on, it is important for the applicant to provide quality documentation of their condition. Doing so not only increases their chance of being approved for benefits, but can also cut down their wait time by avoiding further requests for information from the Social Security Administration.
Source: U.S. News, “Mental Health Now Covered Under ACA, but Not for Everyone,” Susan Brink, April 29, 2014.