WCPO's Hagit Limor Discovers Anthem De Facto Doesn't Cover Mental Illness
My good buddy Hagit Limor from WCPO ran another excellent piece tonight on the fact that, pretty much, Anthem Blue Cross / Blue Shield de facto no longer covers mental illness in this area (video here).
Pretty much what they did a few months back is lower what they will pay mental health professionals SO much that most doctors can no longer afford to accept Anthem. When Bridgepointe bolted I KNEW there was a serious problem.
Pretty much if you have Anthem's insurance there are virtually no providers left who will see you, and the few that will have waiting lists on the order of 4+ months. This is NOT a good situation AT ALL if you or a family member are in need of mental health attention.
As Anthem refused to be interviewed for this story, what Hagit Limor could not discover for the purposes of this story is the WHY behind this behavior on Anthem's part.
It's certainly no secret that insurance companies all around the country have tried to dodge providing mental health care. Many states have had to FORCE insurance companies to provide coverage - so-call "mental health parity" bills.
I'm quite curious as to why this would be the case. Health insurance companies have done many other things to reduce or elimate coverage - raising deductibles and co-pays, challenging claims, refusing coverage on the assumption that many people will not appeal, and a whole host of other ridiculous behavior, but they REALLY seem to have it in for mental health coverage.
Mental health care is expensive. No question about it.
Say, if you have high blood pressure you can get away with seeing your G.P. maybe once or twice a year for 15 minutes.
But if your cheese has even SLIGHTLY dislodged from its cracker, you may be looking at DOZENS of 30 - 60 minute visits over the course of a year and some VERY expensive medications.
However, sometimes I wonder if it's not the financial reasons that health insurance companies fight mental health coverage so strongly.
Sometimes I just wonder if it might be ideological.
Sometimes I wonder if those who call the shots for these companies just might be fans of Mike Huckabee's friend Bill Gothard and his REALLY bizarre ideas that "mental illness", as we currently understand it, is merely a lack of "personal responsibility".
I suppose we may never know.
But, hopefully Hagit Limor's investigations and getting her research to Governor Ted Strickland will AT LEAST get Anthem busted down to its shorts for advertising a group of doctors on its web site that are supposedly "in-network" that really isn't ...