By Steve Pitman
I recently joined a small group meeting with Rep. Mike Levin. As a mental health advocate, I was glad to hear his thoughts on why behavioral health deserves to be a top priority.
Additionally, Levin’s own parents and I all rely on Medicare Advantage, the version of Medicare offering beneficiaries access to private health plans, and I thanked him for his strong support of it.
We share a positive impression about these health plans’ efforts to incorporate “whole person care” into their coverage—a concept that includes mental health services, wellness care, and much more. It was also refreshing to hear from industry representatives in attendance about how these expanded benefits have become the norm for all coverage.
Health care leaders now recognize how diverse factors, from financial stability to transportation access to positive outlook and well-being, ultimately influence health. Accordingly, coverage has become more robust and crammed with free and extremely low-cost services. Surprising to some, this approach actually costs less, because it helps people overcome barriers—which often include mental health issues, such as depression—to get the help they need to stay well.
From my conversation with the Congressman, I’m confident he understands health care, including the central role of behavioral health services, and I trust that he can find policy solutions to protect the best of U.S. health care while bringing costs down.
On a final note, anyone reading this who needs mental health care should check their health plan—coverage is in there, guaranteed.
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