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Much like health care reform, realizing comparable insurance coverage for mental health and substance use disorders (known as parity) has been a long time coming. Recognizing mental health and substance use disorder treatment as integral to health underpins the significance of providing parity in coverage of treatment for mental and substance use disorders and other medical conditions.
Get ready to apply for health insurance coverage! Enrollment for 2015 coverage opens on November 15, 2014, but you don’t have to wait until then to start getting the information you need to make the right choice. Here are some ways to get started:
Joseph Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Persons Affected by Addiction (APAA) of Dallas, Texas, grew up during the civil rights movement. He and his eight siblings experienced violence inside and outside their home and Powell began using alcohol and drugs as a way to cope with life.“Growing up in poverty and with the constant fear of violence contributed to my addiction. My family didn’t have access to the behavioral health benefits that are now covered under the Affordable Care Act. I’m grateful that families like mine can now receive the prevention and treatment services for substance use disorders that I didn’t have,” Powell said.
Marlena Vaifale understands the importance of having health insurance. In 2013, she was diagnosed with pre-diabetes and gallstones, which led to the removal of her gallbladder. She has had health insurance all her life, but did not take full advantage of the preventive services available to her for annual physicals. If she had, she would have made wiser and healthier choices.
The average cost of a 3-day hospital stay is $30,000. The average cost of a visit to the emergency department is $969,1 which is more than an average American pays in rent each month.2 Did you know that nearly 1 out of every 4 community hospital stays involves a mental and/or substance use disorder?3 Individuals without health insurance have to pay the full cost of all their health care expenses and, if not covered in 2014, may have to pay a fee. However, health coverage can protect you from high, unexpected medical costs.