In a recent report by the Kennedy-Satcher Center for Mental Health Equity, Georgia earned a “D” on mental health and addiction treatment equal to that for physical health. This corresponded to a score of 60/100, an evaluation based on Georgia’s statues that ensure equality of physical and mental health treatment. The report stated that more than 1 in 6 Georgians have a mental illness, and nearly 1 in 5 of these individuals is uninsured. Recent data shows that there are on average 4 drug overdoses every day in Georgia. Many people suffering from mental health issues are denied care when they need it the most. Neil Campbell, executive director of the Georgia Council on Substance Abuse, emphasized that there is a “need for the quality and amount of coverage that is afforded physical health conditions.”
The report recommends that patient co-pays and out-of-pocket costs be adjusted to be equal for mental and addiction services as for physical illnesses. It emphasizes that greater access to recovery for mental health and addiction issues will save insurance companies in the long run, because those with their substance problems under control live healthier lives. A decade after the passing of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, a federal law which mandated equity in care for those with mental health issues, there is still much work to be done.
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