The push to provide mental health care access has just taken another step in the United States. The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently finalized a rule to expand the coverage for children enrolled in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
Under this new change members will receive the same benefits and protections as private plans, according to the revised Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPEA). This expansion means more access to substance abuse and mental health treatment, two areas in need of great support in the Black community.
Despite high levels of poverty in the Black community many parents aren’t taking advantage of programs like Medicaid and CHIP. In many states parents must sign their child up for these free programs, but they first must know that their child is eligible. A study conducted in Dallas, Texas revealed that 40% of Black parents didn’t know their child was eligible for these programs.
Glen Flores, a pediatrician at Medica Research Institute and the Mayo Clinic, led this study. He said that the system isn’t set up to benefit children. “It tells us that this system is not designed to keep kids on insurance.”
Under this new rule change participants can now enjoy the benefits as their counterparts who opt to go with higher priced private plans and receive the same quality of mental and substance abuse treatment.