Many members of Congress are intent on repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), (Obamacare). NAMI Mass strongly opposes repeal and recently joined the Massachusetts Coalition for Coverage and Care.
The two goals of the coalition are to:
The coalition will increase knowledge about the progress that Massachusetts has made because of the state’s health coverage law (Chapter 58) and the ACA, broaden understanding of what is at stake if the ACA is repealed and/or replaced, and identify actions that the state and others can take to protect coverage and care for residents of the Commonwealth.
We need to let U.S. Senators and Representatives from other states know that if the ACA is repealed, people with mental health issues will suffer. Please talk to your family and friends living in other states and ask them to contact their U.S. Senators and Representatives to support the ACA.
When people do not have access to mental health or substance use care, many seek help in emergency departments where they can wait for days, or even weeks, for psychiatric care. Others end up out of school, out of work, in jail, on the streets or-tragically-die by suicide.
Mental health and Substance Use Coverage
The current requirement that health plans cover mental health and substance use disorders and at the same level as other health conditions (parity) remains critical as we seek to better address mental health needs and lower the annual economic cost of mental illness.
Extended Coverage for Young Adults until age 26
The ACA allows families to cover young adults through age 26 on their health plans. This is an important option since 3 out of 4 individuals with a mental health condition have symptoms by age 24.
Health Plan safeguards
Once a person is covered, there are safeguards to ensure quality coverage and that a person can’t be dropped from their plan (rescission) or turned down for renewal just because they are ill or using services (guaranteed renewability). People cannot be charged more based on their health status, have annual or lifetime limits on their coverage or be subject to exorbitant deductibles or out-of-pocket expenses.
Medicaid (or MassHealth) and Mental Health
The ACA extended coverage to approximately 20 million people across the country and many of them have mental health conditions.
Please thank your U.S. Senator and Representatives from Massachusetts for supporting the ACA, and talk to your family and friends in other states to ask them to contact their U.S. Senators and Representatives to support the ACA so people with mental health and substance use needs don’t suffer.