Summary: Healthcare is an important issue for the upcoming election. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has created some positive effects for those with mental illnesses. What does the future hold for our country? Where are we headed with the diagnosis and treatment of mental health illnesses?                                          

The Affordable Care Act went into effect in 2010. The ACA is more than 900 pages and was enacted in its entirety with provisions becoming effective through 2015. The 2012 election is only a couple of weeks away and will have significant implications for healthcare. Obama’s administration wrote the ACA and is therefore backing the Act in its entirety. Romney wants to completely repeal the ACA. It will be interesting to see what happens as of November 6, 2012.

One of the most significant issues of the election is healthcare.

Below are 4 predictions for the future of mental health care as it relates to the ACA as it is currently written:

  1. Mental health care will be more accessible to a greater number of people. The passage of the mental health parity law requires insurers to treat mental health disorders with exactly the same coverage limits as any other disease. The ACA will assist the lower income individuals by expanding coverage opportunities for both private insurance as well as Medicaid.
  2. Pre-existing conditions will not be a basis for coverage denial. This issue is especially important for those with mental illnesses who are changing jobs. This will no longer be an issue for these individuals. This may however drive up the costs of healthcare especially for employers. Those with pre-existing conditions may have higher medical bills and higher claims experience rates which can increase the premiums paid by both employers and employees.
  3. Individuals will receive better care. With greater access to health care for those with mental illnesses, this may encourage more individuals to seek and be treated for their illnesses. With continuous treatment, this may reduce the amount of hospital admissions and provide a continuum of care. Other health issues, which may occur along the way in addition to the specific mental illness may be diagnosed earlier and treated more quickly to again reduce the medical costs.
  4. Medicare will cover the donut hole for psychiatric drugs. Some of the psychiatric drugs are very expensive. The ACA has made strides to reduce or eliminate the traditional donut hole and has reduced the amount paid for certain brand name psychiatric drugs.


We encourage any and all comments. We would love to hear your views on the Affordable Care Act, how it is effecting positively or negatively those with mental illnesses, and how you think the election will affect the future of mental health treatment.

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