Losing Medical Insurance Is Disastrous for Mental Health

March 5, 2018 Susan Traugh

Losing health insurance or transferring to another endangers the lives of people with mental illness. How? Find out on HealthyPlace from a parent of two young adult women with mental illness. Could it happen to you?

Losing medical insurance can be devastating for people with mental illness. Even a change in insurance coverage can alter, or even endanger, the lives of people suffering mental illness as long-time relationships with medical providers are destroyed and in-depth, personalized medical knowledge is lost. Losing medical insurance can be very tough.

Losing Medical Insurance Means Losing Relationships with Doctors

Next school year, after 20 years with health insurance that covered a similar group of doctors plan after plan, my husband’s school district will again change insurance. While this might be no big deal for most families, it is devastating to ours. The district is moving from one type of coverage which covered a large number of doctors in our area to another, which only covers the doctors in their facility.

Make no mistake, the new program may be excellent. That’s not the point here. The point is that the mental health support team of primary care physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, and pharmacists that we’ve built up over the last 20 years for my two mentally ill daughters is about to be ripped away from our family. In one fell swoop, we’re losing everything.

Losing Medical Insurance Endangers Lives

It is no small deal. When my youngest daughter’s therapist moved 40 miles away, we decided to find her another one located closer. Within three weeks, my child called me from the local nature reserve, screaming, crying, and threatening to kill herself because of the loss of support that she relied on from her therapist. We had to call the Psychiatric Emergency Response Team (PERT) to come rescue her and calm her down. We now travel the 80-mile-round-trip every week to provide her with the touchstone she needs to stay healthy.

But, now she’s going to lose that therapist again. She’s also going to lose the psychiatrist we’ve worked with for 15 years. We’re going to lose the person who remembers when one drug gave my girl dystonia, or another caused a rash, or when a third triggered night terrors. Is that information in her medical records? Yes. Will it be the same as monthly appointments with a person who has journeyed with us for a decade and a half? Certainly not.

It Takes Time to Build Psychiatric Relationships

It takes time to build psychiatric relationships. My girls have that now with their long-time therapists and doctors. They can speak short-hand in therapy sessions. They can just cut to the chase without having to provide years of background information. They know, from years of goal setting and confessions, that their relationship is safe, comfortable, and secure. That is not transferable to a new therapist. No matter how good the provider, a new relationship means going back to the beginning and getting to know one another one baby-step at a time.

I’m terrified for my two daughters. I know, from past experience, that this transition will cost us dearly in the forward progress of their mental health recovery journey.

Healthcare should not be this way. Whatever your political persuasion, it should not be this way. Money should not be the driving force in healthcare. Healthcare should. Until it is, my daughters and every person with a medical or psychiatric condition will be at the mercy of the system and possibly losing medical insurance.

APA Reference
Traugh, S. (2018, March 5). Losing Medical Insurance Is Disastrous for Mental Health, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, May 27 from

Author: Susan Traugh

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Susan Traugh
March, 6 2018 at 5:58 pm

Thanks, Lizanne,
I appreciate your support. Mental illness is already a tough enough journey in and of itself without adding the stress of finances and destroyed medical relationships. Let's hope we can find an answer to this, and soon.

Lizanne Corbit
March, 5 2018 at 2:03 pm

Thank you for sharing this. I think this is an absolutely vital topic of discussion with today's current healthcare climate. People living with mental health diagnoses deeply depend on their healthcare connections, and unlike other situations there is often a deeply personal connection made between doctor and practitioner. We must address the necessity of constant, seamless healthcare for those with mental health struggles. Money should not be the driving force.

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