Nov 1, 2019

Grieving widow's slide into depression leads to $22K hospital bill

A grieving widow's slide into depression landed her in a hospital for five nights, which then turned into a $29,894.50 medical bill that her insurance didn't cover, Kaiser Health News reports with NPR. The bill was then reduced to $21,634.55 because her insurance didn't cover mental health care.

Why it matters: The woman had an association health plan. Her story illustrates how these plans can backfire on patients.

  • They aren't required to cover the ACA's essential health benefits — including mental health — which is part of why they're often cheaper than ACA-compliant plans.
  • The woman hadn't expected to need mental health services when she bought the plan.

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Corporate America opens up on silencing mental health stigma

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Corporate America is attempting to abolish the "don't ask, don't tell" attitude on mental health between employers and their staff, Bloomberg Businessweek reports.

Why it matters: 63% of employees diagnosed with a mental illness say they have not disclosed it to their employer, according to a Harris Poll partnership with the American Heart Association CEO Roundtable.

Go deeperArrowNov 14, 2019

Disparities persist in mental health coverage

Privately insured people suffering from drug and alcohol addiction or mental health conditions pay more out-of-pocket for care and are more likely to see out-of-network providers than people with chronic physical health conditions, according to a new study in JAMA Network Open.

Between the lines: These costs prevent people from receiving care. The study used data from 2012–2017, a time frame during which the opioid epidemic was ravaging communities across the country.

Go deeperArrowNov 7, 2019

Mental health coverage is getting worse

Data: Mental Health Treatment and Research Institute; Chart: Axios Visuals

As suicide and overdose rates have increased, mental health and substance abuse insurance coverage has gotten worse, according to a new Milliman report commissioned by the Mental Health Treatment and Research Institute.

Why it matters: Behavioral health treatment often isn't covered by insurance, and it's often unaffordable — including for patients for whom treatment is a matter of life and death.

Go deeperArrowNov 21, 2019 - Health