Dear Addy: Mental Health
I'm concerned about how my bleeding disorder is effecting my mental health. However, it's not clear that my insurance covers a therapist or counselor so I keep putting off seeking counseling or therapy. How important is mental health and where do I find the correct insurance information?
Addressing mental health issues is equally as important as addressing physical health issues. However, because of the undeserved stigma and cost often associated with counseling, many people hesitate to make behavioral health a priority. Whether you are living with a bleeding disorder, or caring for a loved one with a bleeding disorder, you need to take care of your whole self.
Review your health insurance policy first. Policies are intended to be in language you’ll understand and outline your benefits, including: what is covered, how it’s covered, cost for treatment, and if a prior authorization is required. Within your policy, start with the summary of benefits and coverage. The summary should include a section on behavioral health services, as well as an overview of your deductible, cost of prescriptions, copays, what’s included and not included in out-of-pocket expenses, and a glossary of terms. Ask your insurer or employer’s HR department if you don’t understand something in your policy. If you receive care at an HTC, the social worker there might be able to provide guidance as well. Note that the Affordable Care Act requires all health insurance plans to provide certain mental and behavioral services. For more information on what is required, visit MentalHealth.gov.
Once you understand your coverage options, finding a counselor that fits your needs and personality takes time and research. Review your policy for a list of in-network providers and the cost associated with those who are out-of-network. It’s okay if you meet with a counselor or therapist and do not connect. This is a very personal choice. Continue the selection process until you find a match with whom you are comfortable. For additional information and resources on selecting a counselor or therapist, visit the American Psychological Association.
Addressing mental health is an important form of self-advocacy. Seeing a counselor or therapist allows you to build a toolbox to handle mental and behavioral health issues as they arise. Counseling is a gift you give yourself.
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HFA frequently receives questions from the bleeding disorders community related to advocacy issues. The questions often impact the entire community. In an effort to reach the largest audience possible with our responses to these widely applicable questions, HFA developed “Dear Addy.” Questions submitted to this column are edited in order to protect privacy and should be considered educational only, not individual guidance.
Assisting and Advocating for the Bleeding Disorders Community