Question: Behavioral Health benefits: Most psychiatrists and Nurse Practitioners are leaving insurance panels. What resources are left for those who don't fall below the poverty level?
Answer: If your income is above the federal poverty level but less than four times that amount, you will be eligible for a subsidy to help cover the cost of buying insurance on an exchange. Most exchanges will offer a menu of different insurance option. You can search for plans that offer the best networks of providers for your needs, including psychiatrists and nurse practitioners.
Some providers decline to participate in any insurance network and require patients to pay them for services directly. This makes their services unaffordable for many. Limited provider choice has been a feature of many plans for some time, and it is not likely to change under health reform. However, all plans that are sold on the exchanges will include at least some providers in every essential health care field, including behavioral health.
Robert I. Field, Ph.D., J.D., M.P.H. is a professor of law at the Earle Mack School of Law and professor of health management and policy at the School of Public Health at Drexel University. He also writes for The Field Clinic blog.