Campaign Coordinator Margaret Nimmo Crowe was invited to provide testimony to the Virginia Senate Finance Committee’s Health and Human Resources Subcommittee on August 27, 2012 in Roanoke. The subcommittee meeting was designed to help the senators better understand current issues in the behavioral health and developmental services area. Commissioner Jim Stewart from the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, along with several of his staff members, presented detailed information about its current projects and priorities. A number of advocates were invited to make brief comments to the legislators as well. Written materials from all the presentations are available on the Senate Finance website.
Provisions of ACA already in effect that help children with mental health disorders:
Can’t be denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions
Parity of mental health benefits with physical health benefits
No lifetime limits (effective now) or annual limits (starting in 2014) on dollar value of services
Can stay on parent’s insurance until age 26; former foster youth can stay on Medicaid until age 26 beginning in 2014
Well-child visits are free, increasing likelihood of early detection and treatment of problems
How Medicaid Expansion would help children with mental health disorders:
Covered parents leads to Covered Kids
Research shows that covering parents with health insurance leads to more children being enrolled in health insurance, more children staying enrolled in that insurance, and children more likely to access preventive and other health care services.
Untreated parental health conditions or large medical bills leads to Negative consequences for kids
Uninsured parents are less likely to access physical and mental health care, and parents’ poor health can contribute to a stressful home environment that affects the mental health of the child. Uninsured parents who get sick and have large medical bills lead to serious financial consequences for the family.
Transition-age children with mental health conditions
lose Medicaid at 19 unless they are declared “disabled” by Medicaid and Social Security (difficult standard to meet). Losing access to treatment at this critical time could have devastating consequences for the youth and cost implications for the state: keeping these 19+ year olds in Medicaid (with 100% to 90% federal funding), keeps them out of state/local funded programs such CSBs or CSA.
The Campaign is pleased that we had this opportunity to keep kids’ mental health issues in front of these important legislators who are key participants in the budget-crafting process.