TADS is advocating for the passage of important legislation: House Bill 3425: Any Willing Provider for mental health. Please read the letter below, which includes a link to the TADS Web page that gives information on how to contact your Massachusetts legislator. Sending an email would be great, but writing a letter would be even better.
Please take a few minutes and perform a little activism so that we can all avoid the difficulties experienced by Sarah and her family in the message below. And then share this message with your friends.
STEVE BOCZENOWSKI, Groton
President & Founder, Teenage Anxiety & Depression Solutions (TADS)
Massachusetts House Bill 3425 aims to correct imbalance between physical and mental health insurance regulations -- July 2013.
Sarah, an 18-year-old high school senior, began therapy at 14 when she was diagnosed with chronic depression and an anxiety disorder. With the help of her psychologist, Sarah has traveled a long, slow road to mental health. Sarah's family and friends began to see a spring in her step they had begun to despair of ever seeing again.
Then Sarah's father was laid off. He quickly found new work, but his new employer's insurance did not include Sarah's psychologist on its list of approved providers. Petitions to include Sarah's psychologist fell on deaf ears. Sarah's parents faced an impossible choice: Either pay out of pocket for Sarah to continue seeing her current psychologist, or risk all by switching Sarah to a new psychologist.
For Sarah, the stakes could not be higher. Her happiness and health, even her very life, could be at stake. What would you do if Sarah was your child?
Every day, people all across Massachusetts face the same dilemma as Sarah's parents. Insurance companies unilaterally decide which mental health-care providers they will cover, because Massachusetts does not have an "any willing provider" or AWP law.
Such a law, already enacted in some form in 31 states, is urgently needed because, as one Massachusetts school counselor puts it, "'Fit' is the most important part of therapy. When I'm approached at school for names of therapists, my first reaction is to think about which therapist would be a good fit for the student. Unfortunately, if that therapist is not on the insurance company's panel of providers then they are out of luck. So, we typically end up going with other, less ideal providers."
To address this pressing issue, state Rep. Sheila Harrington, of Groton, and state Sen. Eileen M. Donoghue, of Lowell, have filed House Bill 3425. This legislation would require insurance carriers in Massachusetts to provide coverage for treatment by "any licensed mental health or substance-abuse provider located within the geographic coverage area of the health benefit plan."
House Bill 3425 is currently under consideration by the Joint Committee on Financial Services. It needs your support or it may die there. TADS (Teenage Anxiety and Depression Solutions), a 501(c)(3) organization, has posted detailed information about the bill on its website (tadsma.org) along with suggestions for various ways you can help. With enough vocal public support, House Bill 3425 will pass, and Sarah and thousands more can get the treatment they need, to have the happiness and success that everyone deserves.
Please join us in advocating for Massachusetts House Bill 3425: Any Willing Provider for mental health. For information, go to tadsma.org/housebill/index.htm.