insurance coverage en Life, Death, and Stable Markets – Reauthorize CHIP and Fund Cost-Sharing Reduction Payments <span>Life, Death, and Stable Markets – Reauthorize CHIP and Fund Cost-Sharing Reduction Payments</span> <span><span lang="" about="/users/jcheang" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">JCheang</span></span> <span>Thu, 10/19/2017 - 11:39</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p><em>By Caren Howard, MHA National Advocacy Manager and Nathaniel Counts, JD, MHA National Senior Policy Director</em></p> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/CHIP%20pregnant.jpg" style="width:100%;"></p> <p>By October 1, the House and Senate Health Committees had passed bills reauthorizing Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the primary health insurance for pregnant women and children whose income disqualifies them from Medicaid insurance. But, neither chamber acted to vote on the bills before the expiration of CHIP at the end of September.</p> <p>Unfortunately, by the second week in October, the Administration announced it would end Cost Sharing Reduction (CSR) payments, payments that were offered to health insurers as part of the Affordable Care Act to stabilize premiums for Americans in the individual market.</p> <p><strong>This week, Mental Health America urged Congress to act quickly to reauthorize CHIP and to fund CSRs. </strong></p> <p>Millions of Americans are impacted by mental health conditions nationwide and Congress must not let people’s coverage get stripped away.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">U.S. Governors</a> indicated their state budgets are not equipped to handle a funding lapse for children and they would be forced to deny coverage and services, and eventually completely shut down their children’s health programs. Care for nine million children and pregnant women in low-income households is slipping away by the day, and we will lose opportunities to bend the trajectories of lives.</p> <p>In its August 2017 report, <a href="" target="_blank">the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated</a> that non-payment of CSRs would begin the destabilization of the insurance markets, ending in an increase in costs for consumers and an increase the federal deficit by $194 billion.</p> <p>These changes put mental health and children’s programs at risk at a time when rates of suicide and overdose are increasing. People will to lose access to the services they need to work, parent, and participate in their communities.</p> <p>These disruptions will precipitate more severe mental health and financial crises - with possible repercussions for years to come.</p> <p>We need Congress to reauthorize CHIP at the current eligibility for at least five years, and fully fund the CSRs.</p> <h2>How can I help?</h2> <h3><strong>If you have one minute, take one action, and if you have five minutes, take them all:</strong></h3> <ul> <li><strong><a href="" target="_blank">Tweet</a>&nbsp;</strong>at your elected officials! Copy and paste the following and make sure you tweet at your correct legislator:<br><br /> "@[Senator] As your constituent, I demand that you quickly reauthorize CHIP and fund CSRs. #ActB4Stage4 for #mentalhealth."</li> <li><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>Call</strong></a>&nbsp;your Senators' office or the Capitol Hill switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Press #2. Then enter your zip code.</li> <li><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>Write</strong></a> to your Senator using <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook's Town Hall feature</a>. If this feature is available in your area, make sure your Constituent Badge is on. Many legislators will not read the comments of individuals who are not marked as one of their constituents.</li> <li><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>Meet</strong></a> with your elected officials. Let them know that mental health in important to you, and that you are not just a number.</li> </ul> <h3>Not sure what to say? Here's a script for you to use:</h3> <p>"As a constituent, I demand the Senator act quickly to reauthorize CHIP and fund CSRs. At a time when rate of suicide and overdose are increasing, people will lose access to the services they need. These disruptions will increase severe mental health and financial crises - with possible repercussions for years to come."</p> <h3>Download shareable images to spread the word. Let your voice be heard and your message be seen clearly.</h3> <p><a href="/sites/default/files/" target="_blank">Click here to download</a>.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="/sites/default/files/Simple%20Shareable%20CTA_0.png"><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/Simple%20Shareable%20CTA.png" style="width: 300px; height: 300px;"></a>&nbsp;&nbsp;<a href="/sites/default/files/Phone%20Call%20to%20Action_2.png"><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/Phone%20Call%20to%20Action_1.png" style="width: 300px; height: 300px;"></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="/sites/default/files/Twitter%20Script%20Call%20to%20Action_2.png"><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/Twitter%20Script%20Call%20to%20Action_1.png" style="width: 600px; height: 300px;"></a></p> <p><strong>Let your elected officials know where you stand with mental health in mind.</strong></p> <hr> <p><em>**Note, the Administration eliminated funding for reaching out to help people buy insurance. <strong>If you or anyone you know needs health insurance, they may shop the <a href="" target="_blank">Marketplace</a> now. Enrollment <span style="color:#ff0000;">begins on November 1 and ends December 15.</span></strong></em></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/maternal-mental-health" hreflang="en">maternal mental health</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/youth-mental-health" hreflang="en">youth mental health</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/insurance" hreflang="en">Insurance</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/insurance-coverage" hreflang="en">insurance coverage</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=1599&amp;2=comment_node_blog_post&amp;3=comment_node_blog_post" token="5wt20WwDD-4o7Pn4mcc2Erh0Lonb2cPgMIoHxjGgpkQ"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Thu, 19 Oct 2017 15:39:25 +0000 JCheang 1599 at A Nonstarter: Repealing Mental Health Reforms Granted by Obamacare <span>A Nonstarter: Repealing Mental Health Reforms Granted by Obamacare</span> <span><span lang="" about="/users/choward" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">CHoward</span></span> <span>Thu, 03/23/2017 - 13:32</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>By: Caren Howard, Advocacy Manager</p> <p>One in five people in their lifetime will experience a mental health condition and four in 20 people will experience chronic, ongoing issues. Mental health is integral to overall health of an individual throughout their lifespan.</p> <p>The Affordable Care Act (ACA) or “Obamacare” helped people in need of mental health and substance use disorder (MH/SUD) treatment because it no longer permitted insurance companies to exclude MH/SUD treatment from benefits. Companies now have to provide insurance plans that cover annual doctor’s visits and other preventive benefits that save money and lives like screening at no extra cost to the consumer.</p> <p>The law incorporated evidence into policy: any health condition is best addressed when treated early on, before stage four (<a href="">B4Stage4</a>). And, the ACA extended MH/SUD parity into more types of insurance plans so beneficiaries would no longer be forced to pay more for MH/SUD treatment than they would for other types of medical and surgical benefits.</p> <p>Obamacare also expanded eligibility criteria for Medicaid and greatly increased funding to states to cover low income adults in a ‘Medicaid expansion’ population. This may not mean much to you if you have employer sponsored health care, but if an employed family member or loved one does not have a health plan through an employer and their income is below 138% of the poverty level, this is a big deal.&nbsp;</p> <p>Nearly one in three Medicaid dollars is spent on MH/SUD services which helps catch conditions early, and when on-going treatment is required, helps to maintain employment, housing, and quality of life. &nbsp;Many states under the ACA have moved toward more integrated, patient-centered care through creative and innovate delivery models. This means that providers may treat together conditions that occur together. Simple, right?</p> <p>Obamacare allows young people, regardless of student or work status, to stay on their parent’s insurance until 26 years old – an age by which most mental health and substance use conditions will initially appear. To me, this was an important provision that hit home.</p> <p>In high school, I visited the 9<sup>th</sup> grade guidance counselor to talk about anxiety that I experienced just before basketball tryouts began, and while it was nice for him to listen it was obvious he had little advice to offer. Several times throughout adolescence, my father and I had conversations about how anxious and moody I felt around the fall season and occasionally other times too. Infrequently, I attended grief therapy session to help me deal with the death of my mother at a young age, but it never occurred to me to talk about my feelings of anxiousness in that context.</p> <p>When I was in college, I shared my “nervous” feelings with a trusted church member who happened to work in health care. She immediately encouraged me to seek treatment, saying “trying it out wouldn’t hurt.” And, nearly eight years after my first feelings of unknown butterflies, a psychiatrist offered a diagnosis. For me, the cost of waiting so long was dropping a full engineering scholarship and my varsity volleyball commitment as they had become too difficult to manage.</p> <p>But, at 20 years old, I finally felt relief knowing there was a name for my feelings. Phew.</p> <p>Looking back, I know that if I didn’t have health insurance through my school or my parent and I had to purchase it on my own, as many young people were unable to do before the ACA (indeed, this was the start of the Great Recession when jobs were slowing) I may not have seen a doctor for even more years and perhaps I wouldn’t be where I am today.</p> <p>Right now Congress is debating the American Health Care Act (AHCA), a bill that puts all of the recent gains of mental health reform under Obamacare at stake. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that more than 24 million Americans will lose health insurance under the AHCA in ten years. Repealing the ACA will surely do greater harm by:</p> <p>-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; slashing funding for the Medicaid program, the largest financer of MH/SUD</p> <p>-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; discouraging healthy people from purchasing insurance until they need it by eliminating the penalty for not purchasing insurance</p> <p>-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; repealing the ACA’s basic benefits package which includes MH/SUD treatment.</p> <p>It is a critical time for the future of health care and mental health systems and Americans must weigh in now – while Congress considers the ACA replacement bill. The House vote is scheduled on <strong>Thursday, March 24<sup>th </sup></strong>and the following week the Senate is slated to take up the bill.</p> <p><strong>Do as I just did, share your story with <a href=";page=UserAction&amp;id=782">Congress</a> and your <a href=";page=UserAction&amp;id=782">Governors</a>&nbsp;<em>NOW</em>, and, encourage loved ones to do the same.&nbsp;</strong></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/mental-health" hreflang="en">mental health</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/medicaid" hreflang="en">Medicaid</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/young-people" hreflang="en">young people</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/insurance-coverage" hreflang="en">insurance coverage</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/obamacare" hreflang="en">Obamacare</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/anxiety" hreflang="en">anxiety</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/depression" hreflang="en">depression</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=1432&amp;2=comment_node_blog_post&amp;3=comment_node_blog_post" token="GWiyseRzeMvb4SFdMj3xjnPxNSQXs7oUE2G5Ax-Ycv8"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Thu, 23 Mar 2017 17:32:24 +0000 CHoward 1432 at