Having health insurance is essential for people with mental health conditions to get the right care at the right time. We recommend you buy safely by going to www.healthcare.gov to see if you qualify for affordable options:
- All health plans offered through HealthCare.gov must cover mental health and substance use services at the same level as other health conditions.
- Even if open enrollment is over for the year, healthcare.gov will see if you can enroll in commercial insurance because of certain qualifications. It will also see if you qualify for Medicaid, which you can enroll in at any time.
When evaluating health plan options, consider these four things:
- Affordability. Compare not only monthly premiums, but also deductibles, co-pays and/or co-insurance, which affect your costs if you use services;
- Availability of health professionals. Check to see if your mental health professional(s) and other health care providers are in a health plan’s network. If they are not, find out if the insurance plan will pay for out-of-network providers—and how much they will cover;
- Coverage of prescription medications. Find a plan that covers any medication(s) you need to maintain your wellness; and
- Limits on mental health office visits. Check to see if a plan has limits on office visits. Also consider differences in inpatient and outpatient coverage.
If you can’t get insurance or need treatment right away:
In an emergency, all emergency departments that participate in Medicare (which is most hospitals in the United States) must see you, regardless of your ability to pay.
Federally funded health centers provide care regardless of insurance coverage or income. Many of these centers include mental health services. Find a federally funded health center near you.
National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics offers a Find A Clinic function on its website.
For resources on medical/non-mental health (children’s health care, dental care, eye care, women’s health), the Free Clinic Directory offers a free clinic treatment locater by zip code.
Helpwhenyouneedit.org and www.211.org allow you to conduct a zip-code-based search for local resources including affordable medical and mental health clinics, housing, food, heating assistance, etc. In many places, you can also dial 211 from your phone to access information on local resources.