Mental Health Insurance and Overview on Mental Disorders

By Esmeralda Mercado

Mental Disorder InsuranceAccording to The National Mental Health Association, about 54 million people in America have a mental health disorder. Another study reports that one out of four people have a mental illness. In California alone, the Department of Mental Health has a budget of over $4 billion and more than 10,000 employees dedicated to the treatment and prevention of mental disorders in the state.

Mental Health Insurance
Kaiser Permanente has numerous plans that include mental health coverage. In California, for example, all individual and family plan offerings insure mental health services. Benefits usually apply to outpatient individual or group visits, as well as to hospitalization and intensive psychiatric treatment. Prescription drugs are covered, if the policy you selected includes the benefit. Plans vary, so be sure to verify with your insurance representative.

On most of the Kaiser plans, outpatient mental health visits are not subject to a deductible. However, hospitalization and other inpatient services will be subject to the deductible on deductible-based plans. The member can get up to 20 outpatient mental health visits or 30 days of inpatient care in a calendar year.

What is a mental illness?
It’s a brain disorder that affects the way an individual thinks, acts, and perceives situations. Some common examples are:
• Anxiety disorders or phobias, like fear of heights or being in crowded places.
• Depression, and other mood disorders, such as bipolar disorder.
• Schizophrenia
• Dementias, including Alzheimer’s disease.
• Eating disorders, such as bulimia and anorexia.
• Sleep disorders
• ADHD
• Learning disorders
• Multiple personality disorder

What causes it?
It’s not contagious like a cold or the flu; however, it is believed to be hereditary, environmental, or caused by a traumatic situation.

Mental illness Treatments
There was a time when people with serious symptoms that appeared harmful to others or to themselves were locked away in mental institutions. Now, however, most mental illnesses are treat-able to the point where people with brain disorders can have productive lives.

Treatment usually comes through counseling or medication. It would be important for an individual to consult with a physician prior to taking any medication, to find out any side effects, and also to make them aware of any health conditions such as pregnancy, or medical issues like diabetes or heart disease. For this reason and more, mental health insurance would prove to be a valuable asset.

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