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Share Your Story – Mental Health Day at the Capitol

NAMI Georgia is seeking personal stories about your experiences with parity discrimination, to be presented to legislators as part of Mental Health Day at the Capitol.

Federal legislation through the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 requires health insurance companies to equalize mental health coverage benefits and other illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, etc. This stipulation is known as parity. Before parity, insurance companies could create limitations that included but were not limited to the number of visitations to hospitals, therapist, and psychiatrist for mental health coverage.

Georgia has not passed comprehensive parity legislation to protect people who suffer from mental illnesses and substance use disorders. The violations that occur are typically non-quantitative treatment limitations (NQTLs) that include: the refusal to pay for higher cost therapies until patients fail at lower cost treatment facilities, inadequate networks of mental health providers, denial of claims or refusal of prior authorization for mental health treatment, among others. Lower cost treatments may not be adequate to treat patients with severe symptoms.  In some cases, patients have died by suicide due to these “fail first” requirements. Additionally, some consumers have not sought out mental health professionals due to the limited number of network providers.

At NAMI Georgia, we are interested in collecting stories about how violations of parity have affected your life and resulted in any negative consequences for you and/or loved ones.These stories will be presented to legislators in order to humanize the importance of mental health parity laws. Please email stories to Benjamin McAfee at volunteer@namiga.org.

 SAVE THE DATE: JANUARY 23, 2018 is Mental Health Day at the State Capitol in Atlanta, Georgia.

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