California just implemented the strongest mental healthcare law in the entire United States. And at a time when anxiety, depression, loneliness, and PTSD are on the rise across the country, such legislation couldn't be more urgent. Yet health insurance companies remain intent on raking in the profits without doling out help, constantly putting greed above the health of the people who pay for coverage.That's why we're asking all 49 other U.S. states to pass analogous laws to California's, expanding mental healthcare access and services. Sign the petition if you agree!
It's part of a movement toward what's known as "mental health parity," the ideal standard in which mental health conditions are treated with the same level of care and seriousness as physical health conditions. Under California's previous parity law, health insurance companies could deny financial coverage for mental healthcare willy nilly. Families were pushed into debt and bankruptcy trying to access and afford treatment. Lives were disrupted.
Relationships ruined. And all this so some (usually) rich old white man at the top of the corporate ladder could keep getting richer.
This was partly because the state only required insurance providers to cover nine diagnosable mental health conditions.
Insurance companies were also allowed to refuse coverage by claiming therapy or psychiatry wasn't "medically necessary" — all based on their own internal, biased, profit-hungry decisions. On top of that, many companies such as Kaiser pushed patients towards short-term treatments or refused to provide care unless the situation was acute, such as in a crisis or life-threatening situation.
But now, under SB 855, the Equal Insurance Coverage for Mental Health law, this has all changed, and for the better!
Beginning on January 1, 2021, all health insurance providers operating inside the state's limits MUST cover treatments for every single disorder listed in the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), which currently names approximately 150 conditions. Greedy insurance companies are now also prohibited from limiting treatment coverage to only short-term, acute care. Best of all, if in-network care isn't available nearby and in a timely manner, then the insurance company MUST help a patient find and pay for out-of-network treatment.
This would be an incredible, mind-blowingly revolutionary law in any year. But it's especially important during COVID. Every person in this nation has endured unprecedented hardships, from pain of losing loved ones to death, to the stress of lost employment, to the loneliness of isolation and physical separation.Let's be honest: we are all going to need serious mental health help for a long time to come. This need is not going away anytime soon. And we need to make sure we're given the necessary resources to heal.Tell state lawmakers and governors in the rest of the United States that they must pass and implement laws like SB 855 to ensure that insurance companies can no longer deny life-saving mental healthcare treatment! We must force these corporations to honor their duties to care for our health by covering these vital services!