Health Insurance is confusing!!
March 29, 2006 2:49 PM   Subscribe

Someone told me that if you use your health insurance to cover mental health treatment (even if it's just therapy), it may affect your ability to get disability or life insurance in the future - does anyone know if this is true?
posted by echo0720 to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I do know that it can affect your ability to get another health insurance policy in the future.
posted by gottabefunky at 2:52 PM on March 29, 2006

I'm curious about this too. Can some people share their experiences? (HINT, HINT, gottabefunky!)
posted by SpecialK at 2:58 PM on March 29, 2006

Not life insurance or disability, but when I almost had my COBRA run out, not ONE health insurance company would even consider covering me. I almost had to go to the Missouri High Risk Pool. You're probably better off asking the specific life insurance providers.
posted by pieoverdone at 3:21 PM on March 29, 2006

It can affect health, life, and disability. The difficult part is that you probably really need the care if you are going to submit a claim. It's a terrible dilemma. I would err on the side of getting the care and worrying about the insurance later. If you have already gotten the care then just apply for the insurance and see. Alternatively, you can hook yourself up with the life and disability first and then get the treatment.
posted by caddis at 4:13 PM on March 29, 2006

anon answer from another mefite, not me

I accesed my mental health coverage for therapy and medication right after college, and then again ten years (and several different insurers) later for just therapy. I have never been denied health coverage (and never been asked to take a rider excluding MH coverage, although I have had to exclude migraine coverage, go figure). This includes times when I have been self-insured; my self-insurance rates, also, were not particularly high. I have also been quoted very reasonable life insurance rates, but never bothered to get a policy.

FWIW: white, female, nonsmoker, living in the continental US with no significant family history of substantial disease.
posted by jessamyn at 4:23 PM on March 29, 2006

I can tell you that admitting to taking antidepressants (the shame, the shame!) leads to higher life-insurance premiums.
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:35 PM on March 29, 2006

My brother used Kaiser for some drug counseling, I think it was group therapy for pot smokers, one of their workshop type therapies offered. He was covered by Kaiser through his wife's employer, but when they needed to buy that coverage on their own they were denied. The letter indicated the reason for the denial was the drug treatment therapy. How's that for a nice kick in the teeth?
posted by 45moore45 at 5:51 PM on March 29, 2006

A close friend was in counseling for a number of years and treated for depression. He was unable to get life insurance. That is, at best, a tangential connection. I suspect information that was present in his record may have been the issue, not the pursuit of counseling per se. I suppose one could go off the radar. Pay cash. Don't ever bring up the fact you went, etc. Just sayin.
posted by docpops at 5:55 PM on March 29, 2006

Yes, it affects it.

Get it through an outside provider and pay out of your pocket.

Your shrink probably won't think it's weird because there are a lot of professionals who would lose their job if their employers found out they were being treated, no matter what the employer's official line is.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:27 PM on March 29, 2006

I don't know if it has to do with using your health insurance or not, but when you receive treatment for mental health problems, or receive therapy, certain things become part of your medical record. Thus, when being evaluated for life insurance and having your medical record poked through it becomes a part of how they evaluate your risk. Which determines how much it ends up costing you. I wouldn't say that it prevents you from getting life insurance however.
posted by HoldFast at 4:50 AM on March 30, 2006

I take Zoloft, and recently bought life insurance (almost 3/4 million worth) and I was in the low-risk pool. However, I have no history of suicide attempts, institutionalization, or drug addiction. I suspect that for a basic dysthymia the life insurance people wouldn't bat an eye but for anything more severe it could be a problem. According to my insurance broker if they excluded everyone with a history of being on anti-depressants practically nobody would be in the low-risk pool!

For health insurance, in most cases MH stuff would be classed as a pre-existing condition just like diabetes or whatever else.
posted by miss tea at 5:14 AM on March 30, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks guys -- very helpful!
posted by echo0720 at 6:51 AM on March 30, 2006

Another way to get mental health treatment and stay off the radar with the insurance companies is to see if your employer has an Employee Assistance Program. Many companies do, and it's a completely confidential process. These programs offer a wide range of services through a third party vendor. They do short term counseling, eldercare research, childcare research, substance abuse treatment, etc.

When I was going through a brutal break-up, I got six free sessions with an LCSW. My insurance knows nothing, and my employer only knows that I contact EAP, but not what services I used.
posted by kimdog at 8:21 AM on March 30, 2006

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