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How to Maximize Your Health Insurance Benefits

Lack of access to treatment for youth living in medically underserved areas with a mental health condition can lead to poor academic performance, substance use, hospitalization, and attempted or completed suicide. The 2008 Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act requires health insurance plans to provide mental health and substance use disorder benefits equal to those of medical/surgical benefits, and the Affordable Care Act requires plans to offer mental health care benefits. Despite this advancement, surveys show that people are not aware of these changes and are not accessing the mental health care available to them through their insurance policies. Further, if youth and parents are unaware that the symptoms they are experiencing could be related to a mental health condition, they will not access care for these conditions. Through a NNLM grant From May 2017 to April 2018 DBSA improved health information literacy and access to mental health care by: educating youth influencers on how to access existing and new DBSA youth mental health information posted on MedLine in both English and Spanish; delivered workshops in underserved areas to educate and train youth influencers and parents on how youth can access greater mental health and substance use care and treatment options for themselves or their children through insurance benefits already available to them; trained them on how to work with insurance plans when benefits are denied; posted workshop presentation and webinar on MedLine‚ÄĒhealth insurance category; worked with community partners to increase knowledge of these tools; included training on how to use MedLine in workshops. To expand on this program, DBSA proposes to reach professional youth influencers to include social workers, librarians and school personnel by creating a 4-hour workshop that provides continuing education credits. Curriculum includes 2-hour instruction on insurance and mental health parity and 2-hour instruction on how to use MedLine and HealthReach as a resource for obtaining additional information on youth behavioral health resources. This program will build on continued work in Illinois and be expanded to reach under-served health communities in Wisconsin.
Identify any specific population(s) this project will serve: 
Identify roles of participants this project will serve: 
Educator, K-12
General public
Library or information professional
Public health professional
Student, college & post-grad
Student, K-12
Project Lead:
Phyllis Foxworth
Funding Source: 
Project Funding:
Federal Fiscal Year: 
Funding Amount: 
Funding Period:
May 1, 2018 to Apr 30, 2019
Project Status: