There is a huge rise in the number of people suffering from mental illness in the United States. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has said that over 9.8 million adults over the age of 18 years have suffered from a serious mental illness that affects their day to day functioning in 2015. This is about 4% of America’s overall population. One in every five children in the US suffers from some sort of mental illness at some point in their lives. There is no doubt that the people suffering from mental disorders and problems are on the rise. There should be a system ready to take care of such patients. But, this is not the case here. A patient suffering from mental illness does not get the help that easily. It is not as easy as referring a patient to a specialized doctor in the case of a mentally ill patient.
Does mental healthcare offer the necessary assistance?
If you take a look at the broader perspective, then you can say that the mental health care is failing the American patients and do not offer the care that they need.
- No options for emergencies
If you are suffering from a chest pain or any other health condition, you can seek immediate help from 9-1-1. But, there is no solid helpline in place for patients who are suffering from suicidal thoughts. There are certain crisis intervention numbers that one can call. But, these services are there to just tell if a patient needs emergency services to treat his or her mental illness or to get admitted to a mental hospital. People do not know the ways and means of how to help a person suffering from mental disorder.
The mental illness patients are not treated with the same importance given to people suffering from physical illness. But, there might be several cases of physical illness patients suffering from mental illness as well. Often, not treating the mental illness and just looking at the physical illness has resulted in patients dying, despite medical care.
- Non-acceptance of insurances
There are many doctors who do not accept certain insurances as they will be losing money when they treat patients with certain insurances. It is a time that the insurance companies put some light into this matter and offer better reimbursement for the specialists treating such mental issue cases.
- Mental counseling services are not covered
The patients suffering from mental illness do not need expensive medications and therapies to treat their issues. They would need to sit for several sessions with the mentalist to solve the issues that they are facing in life. These sittings cost a lot of money and they are not covered by insurance.
The insurance companies have an asset of guidelines that the patient must follow so that they get considered for the test. For a patient suffering from a pain in the neck and numbness of the shoulders should first do an x-ray for the condition and then undergo physiotherapy before they go for further tests that will be covered by the insurance. But, this is not actually the proper treatment as there has not been proper diagnosis done on the patient. The patient might be suffering from cervical spondylosis which needs further scans and tests to reveal the exact medical condition. The physical therapy might not be the solution to the problem at all.
The confusing health care plans
The healthcare maze is a very difficult puzzle to solve for the common man. There are plenty of healthcare plans on offer like Medicaid, POS, HMO, Medicare, etc. In fact, the coverage will vary depending on the typo e plan you have chosen. There will be changes in the deductibles, what the insurance covers, copays, etc., in each of these plans. It is way too difficult for the common man to understand what each policy covers as there is no guide to show what each plan means.
How to understand the health care system?
The following are some of the ways a common man and a patient can tackle and understand the complex health care system.
Knowledge about health care plans and systems is the key. It is very important for the patients to get educated about the health care system. This is the only way they will get to know the plans and systems better. They should know the best treatment options so that they can make better choices. The patients must be aware of the type of coverage that can get. Knowing the plan better and the medical conditions, it covers will keep you in good stead and also get the necessary coverage for those medical conditions.
Fight for the service
It is very important that you fight for your rights. If the service or coverage for a certain medical condition is needed and the insurance company denies it, then you should not shy away. Fight for your cause. Make phone calls to the firm and also file appeals for the same. You should do whatever is possible to get what you deserve. Most of the insurance companies are working that the patients will give up their cause once they are denied coverage.
Look for patient advocates
There are many people who offer the necessary advice and guidance for the patients. It is not that easy to find these people. But, if you are in need of them, then you will have to find a way to locate them. They will provide you with all the details pertaining to your health care plan. There are some doctors who can offer you advice and guidance on health care plans.