Insurance Companies are Reimbursing Mental Health Professionals less than Primary Care Providers for the same services!
Mental health professionals are being reimbursed by insurance companies, less than their medical care counterparts receive, for the same services! The article below from Marketplace.org discusses this further.
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When it comes to insurance money, mental health is not treated equal
Had trouble finding a therapist who takes insurance? You’re not alone.
How about inpatient therapy for bipolar disorder or PTSD? Or a clinic for substance use disorder? Using insurance at any of these places can be a challenge.
An analysis by healthcare consulting company Milliman of medical claims records from major insurers covering nearly 42 million people found that Americans are four to six times more likely to use out-of-network mental health care than medical care. And when in-network care is found, insurance companies reimburse mental health professionals less than primary or specialty care providers for comparable services.
In 2015, for every $1 insurance companies reimbursed primary care doctors, they reimbursed mental health professionals only around 83 cents. Even when treating the exact same condition, like depression.
“Even when they were using the same code, and treating the same mental health diagnosis, they still paid the psychiatrists about twenty percent less than the medical side,” said Henry Harbin, adviser to the Parity Implementation Coalition and former CEO of Magellan Health Services.
The widespread practice has created an unequal system that could create disincentives for mental health providers to accept insurance, even as the U.S. grapples with its highest rate of suicide and overdose deaths in over a decade.