Mental Health and Insurance: Statistics and Other Information

The American Psychological Association reports on their website;

  • An, estimated 15 to 18% of Americans, suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder. These statistics include almost 10 million children.
  • Mental health issues impact general health it is likely some 50 to 70% of visits to primary care physicians may be for medical complaints that are rooted in some kind of psychological issue.
  • Primary care physicians report that anxiety and depression are some of the most common conditions patients seek care for.
  • In many cases, primary care physicians report, their patients mental health problems are compounded with the use of drugs and alcohol addictions.

In 1992 statistics reported from National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) identified suicide as the ninth leading cause of death in the United States.

  • Americans age 15 to 24, suicide is the third leading cause of death.
  • Some research indicates that nearly all people who kill themselves had a diagnosable mental illness or substance abuse problem.
  • According to NIMH, as many as 1 in 5 adult Americans experience a mental health problem during their lifetime requiring some kind of medical treatment.
  • Clinical depression, costs an estimated $23 billion dollars each year for employers due to employee lost work days.
  • Symptoms of depression, may account for 51% more disability days than more severe, major depression.

Mental health disorders cost an estimated $150 billion each year in the United States when the costs of treatment, social service and disability payments, lost productivity, and premature death are combined.

A person with a mental health disorders can be:

  • Overwhelmed with constant stress and tension.
  • Rational and irrational and fear.
  • Feelings of being inadequate.
  • Negative thinking or pessimism.
  • Mood changes or swings.
  • Abrupt changes in behavior.
  • Headaches or nausea with no identifiable physical cause.

In the past some medical and group health insurance policies could cap annual and lifetime benefits for coverage at different and often lower amounts then the other portions of the medical coverage. Discrimination for insurance of mental health treatment and services needs to end and a fair and equitable health care coverage has been the focus of many new laws federally and in a variety of states.

Congress passed “Mental Health Parity Act” in 1996. This legislation prohibited insurance companies from capping the lifetime and annual benefit limits for mental health services when they don’t impose them for other physical health benefits. The Mental Health Parity Act prohibits insurance companies from imposing different limits of coverage for mental health when both types of benefits are offered as part of the same health insurance package.

Photo credit for this blog entry: sxc (no use restrictions for this photo)

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