Getting a health insurance plan for the first time tends to fill your head with expectations. For once, you no longer need to bring during your medical checkups. If you get hospitalized, the insurer will pay your doctor as well as the hospital in full on your behalf. More importantly, you can use the policy for any health condition that bothers you.
I wish all of that can come true.
In reality, such things can only occur if you have a physical problem. Cancer, influenza, diabetes, slipped disc, et cetera – that’s what it means. Once you come to the insurance provider to ask if they can cover your psychiatric bills for depression, eating disorder, and other “invisible” issues, you can’t guarantee that they’ll help you. Some doctors even said most companies merely offer assistance considering the patient is suicidal. Otherwise, they need to pay out of their pockets.
In case you still haven’t experienced that but are thinking of booking an appointment with a psychiatrist, here are the signs that your insurer may not be following mental health parity.
You Have To Get Permission To Use It All The Time
When you utilize your insurance plan to, say, consult a doctor regarding your gallstones, you can present your identification cards to the provider and receive permit immediately. You need not go through heavy scrutinization since it’s a physical condition. Assuming the check-up turns into surgery, the insurer may only call to ask if you wish for them to settle your entire bill.
Well, that breezy process is not natural to experience when the issue involves mental health. In case you want to visit a psychiatrist to monitor your psychological condition or know whether you have anxiety or depression or a different disorder, it will most likely be essential for you to call the insurance company ahead, as well as once you’re getting the paper slip. Nevertheless, neither can assure that they’ll give you the permit you need.
It’s Difficult To Find A Specialist Within The Network
Let’s imagine for a minute that your insurer allowed you to use the policy for mental health assessment. The representative says, “You can do that, but you have to look for a psychiatrist inside the network.” So, although you’ve spoken to another doctor before that, you cancel your appointment with him or her as he or she has no association with the insurance provider.
What you may find out later is that you’ll typically be able to count on your left hand the number of mental health professionals that agree to work with insurers. It’s a rarity to see one listing multiple psychiatrists because there aren’t many specialists that appreciate their stipulations. Not to mention, they don’t get paid as well as the other kinds of doctors, which is disappointing.
You Case May Not Be Seen As “Medically Necessary”
As mentioned above, many insurers have this crazy high standard of what’s medically necessary and what’s not. When talking about the former, it entails that the patient drank a bottle of gasoline, ruptured their veins from excessing slashing, or popped hundreds of pills in their mouth. In short, they were suicidal.
What some insurance companies don’t deem as a necessity is going to a psychiatrist’s clinic to stop depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses from becoming severe. You are surely not suicidal when you want to get help early. Thus, they may turn you away and leave you to fend for yourself in that area of the medical world.
The mental health parity law is supposed to keep patients like you from experiencing discrimination due to your psychiatric issues. If the insurance provider does not honor it and continues to avoid helping policyholders receive the mental health treatment that you need, then you should look for a more humane insurer than that.