NAMI and Partners Release New Report on Inadequate Health Plans

Jun 19, 2018

People with mental illness shouldn’t have to worry about sky-high insurance premiums or being denied health care coverage because of a pre-existing mental health condition. Fortunately, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) currently requires health insurance to cover mental health and substance use treatment services at parity with other health care. But there are new threats from the federal government that would weaken insurance protections for people with mental illness. 

Currently, the ACA allows certain “short-term health plans” to provide coverage that does not have to follow the same anti-discrimination requirements as other health insurance plans, such as individual market and small group health plans. The Trump Administration has proposed to expand these short-term health plans, which are currently only sold as a temporary solution for individuals until they can get more comprehensive coverage. These plans are not required to cover essential health benefits, including mental health and substance use treatment. 

A report released today by NAMI, Families USA, Mental Health America and the National Council for Behavioral Health, "Short-Term Plans Do Not Cover Life-Saving Mental Health and Substance Use Treatment", highlights the barriers to mental health and substance use coverage in current short-term plans. The report found that:  

Before the ACA, health plans often discriminated against people with mental health conditions. In "Mental Health Parity at Risk"a new NAMI report, researchers identified discriminatory practices in mental health and substance use coverage before the ACA:

These reports show how dangerous these types of health plans can be. Suicide rates are rising and 115 Americans die every day from opioid overdose. We need more access to mental health and substance use coverage—not less. 


Read the Report


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