Dear Future President,
One in five adults, an estimated 43.8 million people in the US, experience mental illness within a year. Even with these statistics, mental illness is seen as a stigma and rarely talked about in politics. It is often only discussed when mass shootings are a topic, because of the connections between the shooters and severe mental disorders. This disgusts me because, as someone who has a diagnosed mental illness, I feel like I am expected to pull out a gun at any moment. I ask the future president to spread awareness of the occurrence of mental illnesses and to make healthcare more accessible for these individuals.
As of 2013, only sixty-one percent of health plans covered mental health treatment. If you happened to not already have a healthcare plan and were diagnosed with mental health issues, you were likely to have a price increase in order to get it. According to healthinsurance.org, an individual was denied health insurance in most states because of a bipolar diagnosis, which almost three percent of adults in the US live with. Even if you managed to get treatment for whichever illness you were diagnosed with, eighteen percent of individual market health plans did not cover prescription medications that is so often recommended with treatment.
Although Obamacare, also known as the Affordable Care Act, helped with mental insurance coverage, there is still room for improvement. Under this act, individual plans and small-group plans are required to take in ten health benefits; included in these is mental health treatment. The ACA also enforced that new health plan groups had to cover medications that treated behavioral health problems. Unfortunately, these improvements do not cover large-group plans because they are governed by a different association.
The benefits of making healthcare for mental illness easier to receive is lowering the homeless rate and rate of dangerous instances involving people with mental disorders. Approximately twenty-six percent of adults in homeless shelters have severe mental illnesses, and an estimated twenty percent of state prisoners have history of a mental health condition. Of all the adults living with mental health conditions in the US, only forty-one percent received services to help with these conditions in the past year. Severe mental illnesses have, on average per year, caused America a little under two hundred billion in lost earnings.
"Mental Health By The Numbers." NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Oct. 2016.
Norris, Louise. "How Obamacare Improved Mental Health Coverage." Health Insurance Resource Center. N.p., 16 Feb. 2016. Web. 26 Oct. 2016.