art by: Jerome Lawrence shadow voices: finding hope in mental illness
Insurance Parity

The number of uninsured in America is increasing.

The US Census Bureau reported that nearly 44 million people were uninsured in 2002. Between 2001 and 2002, the number of nonelderly uninsured rose by 2.4 million. 81% of the uninsured are in working families. For every 1% increase in health insurance premiums, the US uninsured population grows by 100,000-250,000.

Overall spending on mental health care for the insured is higher than spending for the Medicare or Medicaid population. Ensuring proper health care coverage for people with mental illness would alleviate costs associated with indigent care and would leave to an overall improved mental health of this population.

Did you know...

  • Mental illness may lead to a lack of health insurance – and the lack of insurance exacerbates mental illness due to a lack of care.

  • One in five people with severe mental illness – nearly four million – lack health insurance.

  • Over the course of a year, three fifths of people with severe mental illnesses did not receive specialty care.

  • People with severe mental illness with Medicare or Medicaid are over six times more likely to have access to specialty care than the uninsured.

  • Treatment rates for depression among the uninsured are half those of the general population.

Used by permission of NAMI

Obtaining health insurance can sometimes be difficult, especially for individuals with a mental illness. Before choosing a plan, be sure to fully understand the mental health benefits it offers, as these benefits are often separate from medical coverage.

Frequently Asked Questions about Mental Health Coverage

  1. How can I get services? Whom should I contact?
  2. What can I expect from my insurance plan?
  3. What about parity?