Medical And Social Boundaries For Mental Health Essay

1691 Words Nov 17th, 2015 7 Pages
Background

Historically individuals have faced medical and social boundaries for accessing mental health services. Health insurance plans discriminated against people living with a mental illness by offering fewer benefits and more restrictions for mental health treatment than medical treatment. To account for the disparity in services, the Mental Health Parity Act of 1996 (MHPA) was enacted by Congress. The law represented progress in mental health policy, but it “did not address treatment limits, the restrictions on the types of facilities covered, differences in cost sharing, and the application of managed care techniques” (Health Affairs, 2014). Thus, the U.S. government made a second attempt to correct discriminatory health care practices by enacting the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA). MHPAEA increased access to mental health and substance abuse care through insurance coverage and ensured fairness between lifetime and annual financial limits for mental health and medical benefits. MHPAEA was an advancement of MHPA, but disparity of services still exists especially for at-risk populations like racial and ethnic minorities groups.
To date, mental health policies have not made enough of a significant impact to end the infrequent poor quality care experienced by ethnic minorities that interface with the healthcare system. According to the National Healthcare Disparities Report (2012), minority and…

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