30 March 2008

Insurance Parity

"If mental illness never ends, which is typically the case, how do you set a standard for coverage equal to that for physical ailments, many of which do end?" A completely misleading comparison from a New York Times article on the push for requiring health insurance companies to cover mental and physical illnesses equivalently: that is, without setting higher co-pays or lower total coverage limits for mental illness. Misleading because plenty of physical ailments are chronic, meaning they can't be cured but can only be treated for the rest of the patient's lifetime: diabetes, asthma, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, to name just a very few.

But the real lack of parity?

The millions of Americans who have no insurance at all: because they cobble together part time or freelance jobs whose employers aren't required to cover them, or because they're between jobs, or because they've started a new job with a waiting period before insurance coverage begins (a particular problem in the case of "pre-existing conditions," on which insurers often set longer limits before coverage under a new policy can begin).