National Alliance on Mental Illness
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Health Coverage

Health coverage can help you get health and mental health services and protect you from high medical bills. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is bringing changes to make health easier to get, more comprehensive and more affordable. Explore this section to learn more about the ACA, the types of health care coverage, mental health services and customer protections that will help you get more from your coverage.

FAQ: (Click the question to expand)

  • How is mental health care insurance provided to those in need?

    • The American health care system is a combination of public and private programs and financing mechanisms. Most Americans get private health insurance through their job while a number of federal, state and local strategies are used to cover health costs for Americans who do not get individual or employer sponsored private health coverage.

      Learn more about how health and mental health care is covered today.

      Fact Sheet: Coverage for Care

  • What additional or expanded health insurance is available to me and my family under the Affordable Care Act?

  • I am a Veteran. What do I need to know about insurance for mental health care that will help me and my family?

    • Help is on the way for millions of uninsured veterans and their families. The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has seen a dramatic increase in demand for mental health care yet veteran status, service related disability, income level and distance from VHA facilities leave many without access to care. Veterans who are uninsured or underinsured will see more choices for expanded mental health care.

      Learn more about new health coverage for veterans and their families through private insurance or Medicaid.

      ACA Fact Sheet #7 New Mental Health Coverage for Veterans

  • I am a Hispanic American. What do I need to know about insurance for mental health care under the health reform law? Who will have access to insurance and who will not?

  • Does everyone need to have health insurance under the health reform law?

    • The health reform law requires most Americans to have health coverage beginning in 2014. If you like the coverage you have now, you can keep it. If you and your family are covered through an employer or individual health plan, Medicaid, Medicare, CHIP, TRICARE or the VA, you will meet the requirement as having insurance. If you do not have coverage, you will need to get insurance or pay a tax penalty unless your income is too low to qualify for help to buy insurance and you do not qualify for Medicaid.

  • What consumer protections does the Affordable Care Act require of virtually all health plans?

    • Currently, private health insurance is often costly, hard to get and may not cover needed care. The health reform law requires health insurance companies to follow new rules to deliver fair and dependable coverage. There are many protections in place to ensure that individuals and families are cared for in their health insurance policies. Each state is developing their response to the law through a variety of strategies, including the development of state health insurance marketplaces, and in some cases, the expansion of Medicaid. Individuals should begin to learn what protections are in place and what to expect now and in the future as the law is implemented fully.

      Learn more about how the health reform law protects you.

      ACA Fact Sheet #5 Customer Protections in Health Reform

  • What health insurance benefits are mandatory as part of the health reform law?

    • The health reform law lays out rules for insurance plans that are intended to help you access the care you need. These are called essential benefits and there are mental health benefits that must be offered in all health insurance plans. There are 10 Essential Health Benefits that are important to understanding what will be mandatory in new insurance plans that begin in 2014.

      ACA Fact Sheet #6 Essential Health Benefits

  • I have heard a lot about the issue of Medicaid expansion. What does this mean to me in my state?

    • Medicaid is a federal/state health financing program that pays for nearly half of all public mental health care. At first, the health reform law required all states to expand Medicaid based on income, but a 2012 Supreme Court decision made Medicaid expansion optional for states. The discussions and decisions about whether to expand and what that looks like is being determined by each state, through the state Governor's office and the state Legislature.

      The outcome of this decision will have a significant impact on not only the individual citizens of each state but to the health care system overall. As of May 2013, these discussions and decisions have been resolved in some states but the debate and outcomes remain in-flux in other states.

      Learn where your state stands on Medicaid expansion.

      Learn more about the Supreme Court decision and mental health ACA Fact Sheet #2: The Supreme Court Health Reform Decision and Mental Health

      Learn more about Medicaid and Mental Health Care ACA Fact Sheet #11: Medicaid and Mental Health

Need Health Insurance?

The next open enrollment period is November 15, 2014 to February 15, 2015.

Learn about coverage options outside of open enrollment at