A Health Insurance Practice that Could Fuel the Mental Health Crisis

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A recent Modern Healthcare article by Dr. Rimal Bera addresses how health insurance practices could be fueling the mental health crisis in the United States. Dr. Bera’s article explains how non-medical switching drives stable patients from their current medication to one that is more profitable for the health plan. Health insurers can impose nonmedical switching by excluding the original medication from coverage, elevating the drug to a higher cost tier, or otherwise limiting access to a treatment or increasing the patient’s out-of-pocket costs. For patients with mental health conditions, non-medical switching can have serious consequences. Dr. Bera’s article highlights that not only will patients subject to non-medical switching have higher healthcare costs within three months compared with patients who did not switch, but they are also more likely to experience depression-related hospitalizations, weight gain, and an increased risk of suicide. Health insurers and pharmacy benefit managers must be held accountable for ensuring patients with mental health conditions can access the prescriptions they need. To learn more about non-medical switching and the impact on patients with mental health conditions visit the Alliance for Mental Health Care Access, here.

 

 

 

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