Kaiser Health News: Mental Health Services Wane as Insurers Appear to Skirt Parity Rules During Pandemic

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Undoubtedly, the devastating nature of the pandemic has led to a surge in the number of Americans seeking mental health services. However, therapists and other behavioral health providers have been found to turn patients away. Accord to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), during the first seven months of the pandemic, there were 36% more emergency room visits for drug overdoses, and 26% more visits for suicide attempts than in 2019. More than one-third of Americans live in areas without enough qualified behavioral health professionals. The pandemic has forced providers to cut outpatient services and limit inpatient options. Additionally, recent reports suggest that the number of complaints concerning reimbursement rates for providers has dramatically risen as well. The struggle against the pandemic has revealed systemic flaws and the occurrence of inequitable treatment as insurance companies have been refusing to pay for mental health services. Read the full article here

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