“President Obama’s latest effort to divert public attention ignores a fundamental problem: it’s much easier to know when a broken bone has healed than a broken mind. That ambiguity opens the door to overtreatment and fraud.”
For a comprehensive overview on how mental health mandates drive up insurance cost, increase the number of people needlessly prescribed dangerous psychiatric drugs, and more— read CCHR’s White Paper on mental health parity: The Vital Case Against Mandated Mental Health Parity – Skyrocketing Costs, More Child Drugging, More Fraud
Forbes – November 11, 2013
By Merrill Matthews
Even as stories pour in of Americans facing steeply higher health insurance premiums and canceled coverage, Team Obama just imposed new regulations that will make those problems worse. It’s almost like they can’t help themselves.
On Friday, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced new regulations mandating health insurers cover mental and behavioral health to the same extent they cover physical health care.
A “mental health parity” mandate was passed by Congress in 2008, but Obama officials claim health insurers aren’t fully complying. (You’ll just have to overlook the irony of the Obama administration, which has postponed several provisions of Obamacare without any legal authority to do so, complaining that others aren’t complying with some law.)
The more likely explanation is the administration is desperately trying to redirect peoples’ attention from the Obamacare rollout that has become a non-stop string of stories about failed websites, higher premiums and canceled policies.
President Obama’s latest effort to divert public attention ignores a fundamental problem: it’s much easier to know when a broken bone has healed than a broken mind. That ambiguity opens the door to overtreatment and fraud.
Health insurers and actuaries have a lot of experience in this area because most states have passed some form of mental health parity legislation.
The Council for Affordable Health Insurance used to publish an annual chart tracking the number of state mandates, and health actuaries provided a general estimate of how much various mandates added to the cost of a basic health insurance policy. Depending on what it required, mental health parity was one of the most expensive mandates, adding between 5 percent and 10 percent. [Full disclosure: I ran CAHI for eight years.]
So while Obamacare is driving up the cost of a policy for many Americans by 50 percent to 100 percent, the new mental health rules will make coverage even more expensive—though it’s difficult to know by how much.
The state-based mental health mandate usually operated in an environment where health insurers could deny coverage for a preexisting condition. Obamacare is eliminating that practice. Now people with mental health, substance abuse and behavioral issues can sign up—well, if the bureaucrats ever get the website fixed—for subsidized coverage with very few limits.
Evidence is already emerging that those who have signed up are older than average, and they will surely be sicker—because they are the uninsureds most motivated to get coverage.
Furthermore, the mental health mandate could mean that millions of additional health policies will be canceled because Obama just expanded what’s considered qualified coverage.
If the past few weeks haven’t convinced you the Obama administration never understood how the law would affect health insurance, this new effort should do it. Read rest of the article here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/merrillmatthews/2013/11/11/new-mental-health-mandate-will-make-obamacare-more-expensive-increase-fraud-and-canceled-policies/#d8128e
Also read CCHR’s White Paper on mental health parity: The Vital Case Against Mandated Mental Health Parity – Skyrocketing Costs, More Child Drugging, More Fraud
As well as CCHR’s Fact Sheet on mental health parity: Driving Up Insurance Premiums