One of the most beneficial pieces of the Affordable Care Act that is often overlooked is the importance the ACA gives to mental health. Mental health coverage is one of the 10 essential health benefits that new insurance policies must cover according to the ACA.
That provision already is helping Nebraskans. Last weekend, Cathryn Reed of St. Edward, Neb., wrote a letter to the Omaha World-Herald explaining the stigma given to people who seek mental health care, which previous health insurance policies did nothing to alleviate.
“Because of the ACA, I cannot be denied insurance coverage based on a pre-existing condition, and mental health care coverage is a requirement for insurance companies. For the first time, there are laws recognizing mental health as a significant health concern. For the first time, those suffering from a mental illness are recognized as living with a real condition.
“All too often, mental health care is seen as a luxury for the self-indulgent. Somehow mental health becomes disconnected from physical health. Let me remind you that the brain is a physical organ.”
“Much of this country still views mental health care as a luxury and expendable. Is this discrimination? I don’t know, but it sure feels like it. This stigma is real. I live with it every day, and so do one in four Americans.”
Millions of Americans in need of mental health care who previously were not available to afford it now have access to the treatment they need thanks to the ACA. Another way the new health care law is already helping people in Nebraska.