Member involvement needed to help increase health insurance enrollment

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services asks APA members to help with Affordable Care Act enrollment efforts.

APA members can play an important role in the success of the Affordable Care Act by alerting patients, clients, students, colleagues, community service organizations and others about new health insurance coverage options available through the ACA, says Mary Wakefield, PhD, Health Resources and Services Administration administrator.

“Access to health care is predicated on access to health insurance coverage, which for far too long has been out of reach for millions of Americans,” Wakefield said in a letter to APA members. “Even for people with insurance, about one-third had no coverage for substance use disorder services, and nearly 20 percent had no coverage for important mental health services, such as outpatient therapy visits and inpatient crisis intervention and stabilization.” The ACA builds on the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act by extending coverage of mental health and substance use disorder services and federal parity protections.

“By sending a letter to APA members, Dr. Wakefield recognizes that they are an important link to the consumers of health care services,” said APA Education Directorate Executive Director Cynthia D. Belar, PhD, ABPP. “We can play an important role in educating them about available resources.” Patients, clients, students, colleagues and community members can sign up for health insurance online, by calling (800) 318-2596, by applying in person at health centers, by mailing an enrollment application from Healthcare.gov or by enrolling directly through a health insurance issuer, agent or broker.

Psychologists and other providers can also download fact sheets, PowerPoint slides, check lists and other resources to help educate people about their insurance options.

March 31 is the deadline to enroll in health insurance available through the health care marketplace during 2014.