Mental and physical wellness are key to living the longest, most fulfilling life possible. Learning how to care for your mental well being greatly increases life’s quality. What better time could there be to learn about your mental health care options than in May, which is Mental Health Awareness Month?
Beginning with the non-profit Mental Health America in 1949, Mental Health Awareness Month (also known as Mental Health Month) is a time of education on the important topic. In 2008, the Mental Health Parity law was passed, which mandates that mental/behavioral health and substance abuse disorder treatment coverage equal what is provided for physical health.
For Mental Health Awareness Month, here are ways to make the best of the mental health care tools at your disposal:
Check whether your coverage uses provider networks. Typically, patients are required to pay more out-of-pocket costs when visiting an out-of-network provider. Call your insurance company or visit the company’s website for a list of in-network providers.
Ask about copayments. A copay is a charge that your insurance company requires you to pay out of pocket for a specific service. For instance, you may have a $20 copay for each office visit. In the past, copays for mental health visits may have been greater than those for most medical visits. That should no longer be the case for insurance plans subject to the parity law.
Ask about your deductible. A deductible is the amount that you must pay out-of-pocket before your health insurance makes any payments. Depending on your deductible, for instance, you may have to pay $500 or even $5,000 out-of-pocket before your insurance company will begin making payments on claims. Because of the parity law, your deductible should apply to both mental and physical health coverage.
Talk to your provider. When you call to schedule an appointment with a mental health provider, ask if he or she accepts your insurance. Also ask whether he or she will bill your insurance company directly and you just provide a copayment, or if you must pay in full and then submit the claim to your insurance company for reimbursement. If your provider does not accept insurance, ask about the provider’s payment policy.
Wellness is defined by the National Wellness Institute as “an active process of becoming aware of and making choices towards a more successful existence.” Make it a point this Mental Health Awareness Month to learn what tools for success your health care provider offers you!
Looking for ways to de-stress? Check out our blog post with some tips on managing stress.