This month, in a compassionate attempt to improve health care options and significantly lower costs, Florida has emerged as the first state providing a health plan with Medicaid which has been exclusively designed to assist those with serious and debilitating mental illness, including such issues as:
- Major depression
- Biopolar conditions
The plan is being offered up by Conn.-based complete care company Avon, and serves to be part of a new era of state experimentation that aims to start better co-ordinating the realms of mental and physical health care for people enrolled in the Medicaid scheme.
Studies have previously shown that mental illness can be a significant factor in Medicaid cost because it is particularly prevalent throughout those in receipt of the public insurance program. In fact, the poorer beneficiaries of the state have been proven to be almost twice as susceptible to mental illness as the general population. Research has found that individuals in the insurance plan which have mental health issues alongside other physical conditions account for a large percentage of Medicaid spending.
Despite this, conventionally, Medicaid programs throughout America have typically engaged in contracts with separate organizations in an attempt to provide coverage for physical and mental health services, making the concept of health-care co-ordination more complicated. In light of this, the Medicaid director for Florida, Mr. Justin Senior, announced that he, and his company believed that an individual’s ‘whole head’ should be part of one, single health maintenance organization.
The reorganization should apply to at around 140,000 eligible low-income individuals living within Florida, and experts predict that at least twenty thousand will volunteer to participate within the first year of the agenda. Recipients of Medicaid who already fit the necessary criteria will be automatically assigned to the plan, however they will have the opportunity to switch out if they choose to do so. The initial coverage for this plan began in Broward and Miami-Dade counties on the first of July and is expected to reach other regions in the state by September of this year.