i recently posted and voiced my frustrations at the mental illness stigma in our country, the world. until that post i had vented only to friends and family. why? why is this still the case? why is it when i call my insurance company i am referred to a separate division? the mental health division. why is that i pick up a prescription for say, an antibiotic, it is covered. but when i pick up a prescription for a pill to help alleviate this depression i pay $271.00 for 30 pills. i live in a state with no insurance parity. it is unfortunate. i truly believed i would see a change. i had hoped this change would be sooner rather than later.
millions of americans with mental disorders do not have equal access to health insurance. many health plans discriminate against these people by limiting mental health and substance abuse health care by imposing lower day and visit limits. higher co-payments and deductibles. lower annual and lifetime spending caps.
to date, 35 states have made into law some form of mental health parity. ok, scratch that. last week that all changed. a turn for the worse. we are not moving forward, we are moving backwards. waaaay back. enter the Health Insurance Marketplace Modernization and Affordability Act, or HIMMA. this bill will override over 35 state mental health parity laws aimed at preventing discriminatory coverage of mental health services, leaving Americans without the protection those laws afforded. this bill will deny individuals needing mental health services.
i will tell you what this bill will do. we will see an increase in emergency room visits. we will see more homeless men, women and children. in the cold. no roof over their head. no warm bed to come home to. the crime rates will increase. more suicides. you can deny this, but believe me, it is true.
i am one of the lucky ones. and i say this because i found an outlet. a creative outlet. it saved me. i have a lovely apartment. a nice bed. a car. a refrigerator stocked with food. pictures of friends and family adorn my freshly painted walls. i have cable, tivo, hundred of dvds, hundreds of books. nice clothes. forty dollar bottles of lotion. too many of them. and so, yes, i am lucky. relatives of mine were not so fortunate. so many people are not so fortunate. and we are about to ignore them. not even give them a chance to LIVE and enjoy life. a life so many of us take advantage of. we are tossing them out like we would yesterdays paper. and why? with proper medication and treatment one can function and live a good life. there are days my depression consumes me but it is short-lived. because i am medicated.
approximately 57 million americans suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder. 57 million. i am surprised more people are not asking why with these statistics. we all know someone with a mental illness. we know their pains. we are about to make it nearly impossible for these people to seek treatment. to live. to take pleasure in the small things. why are we still living in a world blind to mental illness? we remember stories like the man on the plane in miami. or andrea yates, the bipolar woman who drowned her children. try this google search: mentally ill man. 9,920,000 results. now google this: mental illness stigma. 3,760,000 results. this is the problem. we would rather report the bad. we would rather read the bad. and wonder where they went wrong. think about it. we know what happened. they went off their meds because they could not afford them. or the side effects were too much to live with. or they were plain turned away when they attempted to seek treatment.
is this what it has come to? i am furious. in a few days i will mail a check paying my $680.00 health insurance premium. give me a reason to mail this check. tell me why i should. so that when i have a “real” illness i will be covered? that is not good enough.
will i mail this check? yes, i will. because i know what will happen if i don’t. i will be dropped. i will attempt later to apply for coverage and i will be denied. or my monthly premium would be say, the cost of a mortgage payment for one living in beverly hills. i will mail this check because i am fortunate.
i will no longer sit back and take this crap. i am tired of complaining and venting to deaf ears. i am tired of the same answer-there is nothing we can do or say! yes there is. people need to get angry. people need to speak up. people need to open their eyes. and we need to do this now.