How do I get mental health services while uninsured in Tucson, AZ?
January 21, 2013 10:45 AM   Subscribe

I have mental health issues and I need to see a therapist, a psychiatrist, and have my medications prescribed/refilled regularly. I'm moving next month to be with my significant other (not married), but I'll lose my health insurance which is through my current state. Where do I get these mental health services at a reduced cost as an uninsured person in Tucson, AZ?

S/O will have full coverage through employment. I have no job, and am on break from schooling due to these health issues.

I have just been turned down for a basic health insurance plan that had a $10k deductible through Blue Cross Blue Shield of AZ due to my preexisting mental health conditions (the letter states it's due to ADHD, anxiety, major depression). I assume that applying to more private insurance companies would be futile.

I can't get coverage through the health care reform's PCIP until 6+ months have passed since having health coverage. What am I supposed to do until then? I am not eligible for any of the state health programs in Arizona (such as AHCCCS). I checked out PCAP but they don't cover mental health services.

I know of options for different health reasons (Planned Parenthood, for example), but I can't find anything similar for mental health stuff.

All my medications are generics, so I can use a $4 generics program.

I just need to do regular therapy sessions, and have someone write refills for my meds. Where can I get that done?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (8 answers total)
I suggest you contact SAMHC. If they can't provide you with care, they may be able to at least refer you to other resources.
posted by anonnymoose at 10:48 AM on January 21, 2013

What are your SO's restrictions on having you declared a domestic partner through his/her job? I've seen companies that require as little as a joint lease or joint banking account.
posted by supercres at 11:00 AM on January 21, 2013

Not trying to nitpick but are you sure that you will lose your insurance from your home state? I maintained my Washington state health care while I was more itinerant which allowed me to get prescriptions filled from places that were not in Washington state. Obviously this is not optimal but it might be a possibility for some stopgap coverage for the first few months that you are there if you can find a way to get mail delivered to you in your current home state.
posted by jessamyn at 11:04 AM on January 21, 2013

You don't need to see a psychiatrist - you need to see an MD or a psych nurse practitioner who can prescribe controlled substances (and you only need the controlled substances permission if you're on something like Ritalin, obviously.) Even an OB/GYN can prescribe Adderall, Xanax, Cymbalta, etc. So can all "DO" doctors (not everyone knows what that stands for; it's very much like an MD and has basically all the same privileges.)

Make sure to bring every last one of your current bottles with you, and the complete contact information from your previous providers. Ideally, get your current psychiatrist to write down your diagnoses and your prescriptions, and put it on letterhead. Lots of doctors are much less iffy about psych meds if they know a psychiatrist familiar with your case has previously prescribed them.

You can also get scripts written out in advance for your meds. Depending on what you're taking for the ADHD, you can possibly get 3 "30 Day" scripts to submit to the pharmacy, which they'll then dispense as often as state law permits. All of my psych meds other than Vyvanse are on one-year automatically renewing 90-day scripts.

Therapy-for-inexpensive is harder to sort out entirely via the internet, and I recommend that you head to NAMI for that, because they're most likely to know all the sliding-scale types out there. Also do support groups (NAMI Connection, DBSA, and CHADD, for instance) while you're getting that straightened out. The folks at SAMHC can hook you up with the local clinics, but if it's anything like it is here, they're not so good for "uninsured" instead of "Medicaid" and "therapy" instead of "person who prescribes things and maybe a support group."

Your current therapist is also a good source for this stuff, BTW.

Also check to see if your partner has EAP benefits that extend to you. They do at my job, even for unmarried partners - every-other-week therapy appointments with them, plus a couple of support groups, may tide you over long enough to get in with a sliding scale therapist. My own therapist costs $60/hour, which is why I keep using the words sliding scale.
posted by Fee Phi Faux Phumb I Smell t'Socks o' a Puppetman! at 11:41 AM on January 21, 2013

You may also try the University of Arizona's psychiatry department: They have an adult clinic, group therapy options, and offer crisis services, and according to a press release it seems like their new Behavioral Health Pavilion is meant to serve the community at large. To pile on to Fee Phi Faux's excellent advice, they note that they do use a sliding scale for group psychotherapy sessions in this brochure.

Ask your current psychiatrist how much it would cost you for them to make a full copy of your medical records. They are, after all, your medical records, and sometimes it can be easier to have those with you.
posted by Made of Star Stuff at 11:54 AM on January 21, 2013 [3 favorites]

Also, be sure to check out the various resource lists out there for your region/city: Plus, Mental Health America of Arizona has a referral line with many many more resources. If their Andy is anything like the guy my local MHA has, this is actually where I'd go first.
posted by Fee Phi Faux Phumb I Smell t'Socks o' a Puppetman! at 11:55 AM on January 21, 2013

I am not an Arizona resident, but I am a consumer of antidepressants who knows how crazy-making it can be to go without them.

There is a nonprofit called Needymeds whose mission is to direct people to low- or no-cost sources of medication and health care. The site has a searchable database of free/low-cost/sliding-scale clinics nationwide, and many of these clinics offer mental health services. (The database includes info on each clinic's hours, location, cost, and services.)
posted by virago at 2:06 PM on January 21, 2013

Catholic Services in Tucson offers counseling on a sliding scale based on income. You don't have to be catholic or any religion at all. They don't do meds.
posted by SyraCarol at 2:26 PM on January 21, 2013

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