Medicaid Expansion to Boost Access to Mental Health Services

State funding and investment for mental health services have
significantly decreased in recent years, even as demand for these
services has increased. But there may be a glimmer of hope for advocates
of expanded access to mental health coverage.

In participating states, the upcoming Medicaid expansion under the
Affordable Care Act will increase both the number of eligible enrollees
and the list of treatments and services covered, including mental health
coverage.

Both the Medicaid expansion and the establishment of health insurance
exchanges are scheduled to roll out Jan. 1, 2014. The federal
government will pick up all the costs for newly eligible Medicaid
patients under the expansion for the first three years, and then will
slowly decrease the federal contribution to 90 percent.

By expanding Medicaid and creating the health insurance exchanges,
the federal government hopes that more uninsured Americans will become
insured, and as a result, fewer people will need to rely on costly
emergency room treatment for their basic health care needs.

But the Supreme Court's ruling on the health care reform law on June
28, 2012, allowed states to opt out of the law's Medicaid expansion
while maintaining their existing Medicaid funding. Those states that opt
out will not receive the additional funds to expand coverage to include
mental illnesses.

Source PBS

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