Diabetes and depression – easily known as twin diseases, as they often times go hand in hand.
Also hand in hand goes the frustration with insurance companies in trying to get coverage for visits with mental health specialist. We all know that our health care system needs some kind of overhaul, and it’s basically a relief to know that Congress is doing what it can in the meantime to crack down on insurance companies exploiting a loophole and preventing insurers from charging higher co-payments and setting stricter limits for mental health services. Insurers have been dancing around the 1996 law that forbids health plans to set annual or lifetime dollar limits on mental health care lower than limits for other services.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn) said it well: “We are eliminating the stigma and affirming the dignity” of people with mental illness with the passing of this bill and similar measures. THANK YOU! Other supporters include Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass) and Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM). The bill prohibits higher co-payments, deductibles, and out-of-pocket expenses for mental health services than those for treatment of physical illnesses. Okay, good, although co-pays are already pretty high for physical illneses – better yet would be to work on lowering deductibles overall!
Still, one thing at a time - we do see a sigh of relief coming from the diabetes community. Unfortunately, depression is often a complication of diabetes, regardless of the duration with diabetes, and many people have previously been unable to afford to see a mental health professional on top of the rising costs and other burdens of diabetes care. We hope this law is adequate enough to prevent insurers from discovering yet another loophole and instead step up and begin helping people with mental health concerns get appropriate care.