Working to improve the lives of children and adults with mental illnesses and their families
The Supreme Court ruled on June 28 to uphold the majority of the federal health care reform law, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including important protections for people with mental illnesses. Thanks to the ruling, Minnesota will be able to continue moving forward to establish a health insurance exchange, which under the law, must include coverage for mental health care and must adhere to the mental health parity law.
Minnesota will also be able to go ahead with plans to expand to Medical Assistance (MA) to cover single adults without children who have annual incomes up to 133 percent of federal poverty guidelines ($14,850) and who are not certified as disabled. There is also a 5 percent “income disregard” as part of the expansion, effectively raising the annual income limit for the new MA program to 138 percent of federal poverty guidelines ($15,400). Many of the people who will benefit from this change, which takes effect in 2014, live with a mental illness but are not considered 'disabled' and this is an important move to ensure they can access the treatment and services they need
The court's decision will mean that children and young adults can remain on their parent’s health insurance plans until age 26 as well. This is typically the largest group of people who are without insurance and an age when people often experience their first psychotic episode. The court’s ruling will ensure these young people will be able to access the treatment they need, when they need it.
The court also upheld a provision barring insurance companies from denying people coverage because they have a pre-existing condition, including a mental illness. This means that people will no longer be unable to obtain health insurance simply because they live with a mental illness. The ruling is a huge victory for the mental health community and NAMI Minnesota applauds the Supreme Court for upholding these important provisions of the health reform law. For a detailed analysis of the implications of the decision, visit SCOTUSBlog. For more reaction from the mental health community and others, check out press releases from NAMI Minnesota, NAMI National, Mental Health America as well as Governor Mark Dayton, President Obama, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and other political leaders.