Find Help, Find Hope! is OPEN: How to Buy Health Insurance Safely

Open enrollment is open on and will run through December 15, 2019, and the time is NOW to enroll in or renew your health insurance coverage!


On Nov. 1, started its annual enrollment period for health insurance. If you don’t have health care insurance or you just need to renew your plan, make time to review your health plan options before open enrollment ends on Dec. 15.

Some health plans may deny coverage for pre-existing conditions or don’t cover mental health care, but there is a way to play it safe and make sure you have mental health coverage in 2020.

Start at

All health plans on must cover mental health and substance use services at the same level as other health conditions. Some plans on offer better options than others, so review the plans carefully. Additionally, 7 out of 10 people who sign up on qualify for financial help – finding plans with monthly premiums at $75 or less.


Why is this important for people with MH conditions?

Having health insurance is essential for people with mental health conditions to get the right care at the right time. All health plans offered through must cover mental health and substance use services at the same level as other health conditions and can help people meet other preventive or physical health needs. Additionally, the majority of people who sign up qualify for tax credits: about 7 in 10 people can find a plan this year that costs less than $75 per month after tax credits. By using, users might find that they are eligible for their state’s Medicaid program, making coverage even more affordable.


How to Choose Your Health Plan


Choose Smart

Whether choosing insurance for the first time or reevaluating your current plan, keep these factors in mind:

  • Affordability. Compare monthly premiums, deductibles, co-pays and/or co-insurance to make sure you have selected the best option for your health insurance needs. Consider not only how much you will pay each month in premiums but also how much you will pay in co-pays and co-insurance when you use services.
  • Availability of mental health professionals. Check to see if your mental health professional(s) and other health care providers are in a health plan’s network. If they are not, find out if the insurance plan will pay for out-of-network providers—and how much they will cover.
  • Coverage of prescription medications. Find a plan that covers any medication(s) you need to maintain your wellness.
  • Limits on mental health office visits. Check to see if a plan will cover the number of therapy visits you may need. You may also need to consider differences in inpatient and outpatient coverage.


Play it Safe only offers health plans with comprehensive coverage and consumer protections – no skimpy plans that leave you in a lurch when health emergencies arise. These skimpy plans – called short-term, limited-duration (STLD) plans – may be promoted by some websites, ads or insurance brokers.

STLD plans do not have to comply with mental health parity and are allowed to:

  • Deny coverage for any pre-existing condition, including mental illness;
  • Charge higher premiums for people with a history of mental health conditions;
  • Not cover mental health and substance use disorder treatment; and
  • Deny coverage of services resulting from self-inflicted injury.

As you might be aware, NAMI joined a lawsuit seeking to invalidate the federal rule that expanded these dangerous STLD plans. The lawsuit is making its way through the court system. In the meantime, more STLD plans are available during this year’s open enrollment period in many states.

For this reason, NAMI is encouraging people with mental health conditions to PLAY IT SAFE and start their enrollment process at


What if My State Runs Its Own Health Care Exchange?

If a state runs its own health care exchange, will redirect you to your state exchange. State exchanges only offer comprehensive insurance – covering mental health and substance use services at the same level as other health conditions. You can find a list of states that operate their own exchange and links to information on those states’ enrollment deadlines here.



Take action by Dec. 15.
Don’t risk not having health and mental health coverage in 2020.
Signing up for new coverage or renewing your plan takes as little as 10 minutes.
Buy safely and get started now by going to

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