Making the Affordable Care Act Accessible to Individuals with Psychiatric Disabilities

As part of its continuing commitment to the participation of people with mental health conditions in community life, the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion for Individuals with Psychiatric Disabilities recently co-sponsored a one-day program in Philadelphia to provide people with mental health conditions more information on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and assistance in navigating the ACA’s Insurance Marketplace.

The Temple Collaborative—which recently received a new five-year Research and Training Center award from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research—worked  with the Temple University School of Social Work and the Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania (MHASP) on a November 2013 forum on the implications of the ACA for people with mental health conditions.  Over 100 people attended presentations on the ACA’s parity requirements, the emphasis on prevention services, and the broadened availability of affordable coverage for people who have not had adequate health coverage before.

Thirty individuals worked with expert navigators stationed at computers to explore their insurance options and to sign up for coverage. Attendee feedback from the one-day event indicated that participants felt they had increased their understanding of the ACA in general, were better informed about the relevance of the ACA to individuals with mental health conditions, and felt more confident in exploring and signing up for coverage under the ACA.

The Temple Collaborative will continue to work, in the years ahead, with Mental Health America and its local affiliates to improve understanding of the ACA and the need to insure that the policies, programs, and practices that define community inclusion for people with mental health conditions are a central aspect of state implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

For more information on the November 2013 forum or the ongoing research and knowledge translation activities of the Temple Collaborative, contact Gretchen Snethen or go to the website at tucollaborative.org.

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