Advocacy Alert: Insurance Coverage

Another Blow to Insurance Coverage for People with Mental Illness

On August 1, the Administration dealt another blow to mental health parity by allowing for an expansion of certain health insurance plans that are not required to cover people with pre-existing conditions or provide coverage for mental health services.

These “short-term limited-duration” plans will now be allowed to cover people for up to 364 days, up from 3 months, and be renewed for up to three years.

However, even when short-term limited duration plans say they cover mental health care, they often have fine print that allows them to charge people with mental illness more or says they do not:

  • Cover pre-existing conditions like mental illness;
  • Cover a self-inflicted injury; or
  • Provide essential health benefits, including mental health and substance use care.

These junk plans will leave many people without the coverage they need in a mental health crisis or if they develop a mental health condition. And, this rule will further destabilize the individual health insurance marketplace and threaten quality and affordable mental health coverage for Americans.

Take Action

Tell our state insurance regulator to act now to protect people with mental health conditions. Email our regulator Jessica Altman jealtman@pa.gov with the following message:
Dear Commissioner Altman:
I am writing today because, as a person whose life is affected by mental illness, I am deeply concerned that short-term limited-duration plans may be sold in our state. Even when short-term limited duration plans say they cover mental health care, they often have fine print that allows them to charge people with mental illness more or says they do not:
  • Cover pre-existing conditions like mental illness;
  • Cover a self-inflicted injury; or
  • Provide essential health benefits, including mental health and substance use care
These plans will leave many people without the coverage they need in a mental health crisis or if they develop a mental health condition. This rule will also further destabilize the individual health insurance marketplace and threaten quality and affordable mental health coverage for people in our state.
As our state’s insurance regulator, I urge you to take steps to limit the sale of these short-term plans and to protect people with mental health conditions.
Sincerely,
[insert your name and address]

E-mail Our Regulator