COBRA stands for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. It gives employees the right to pay insurance premiums in order to maintain the coverage offered by their employer after reducing work hours, quitting their job, or losing their job.
COBRA is not an insurance plan – rather, it is the ability to continue paying for the insurance your employer offered to you. Due to this, mental health coverage depends on the insurance plan. To learn more about what mental health benefits are covered, contact the HR department at your previous employer.
Prescription Drug Coverage
Insurance plans generally cover some medications, usually those on an approved list. If a medication that you need to treat a mental health problem is not on the approved list, utilize your insurance’s exceptions process to request covering a medication that is not normally covered by your plan. Contact your insurance company to find out how to begin this process. Some insurances will cover the medication until a decision is made, so ask to see if this is a possibility. If your insurance company denies the exception, you have the right to appeal the decision through a third party. Click here to learn more about the appeals process.
If you cannot afford prescription copays, you have several options to try. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if there is a generic version of your prescription that costs less. Additionally, some hospitals and pharmacies will waive copays for individuals with low income. The policy varies by location, so the best thing to do is to simply ask if copays can be waived or discounted.
What can I do if I have no insurance?
Seeking help without insurance is difficult but not impossible. Many community services exist that can help at low or no cost to individuals who are under or uninsured. Begin by calling your county mental health services to ask about services available for the uninsured.
In addition, here are some free services that you can use right away to seek help:
Speak to a trained crisis counselor. While not therapists, hotline workers can be a source of comfort, strength, and advice during hard times.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 (TALK)
Crisis Text Line: Send a message to 741-741
Chatline: ImAlive, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Crisis Chat
Find a Free Clinic:
The Partnership for Prescription Assistance has a searchable database of free clinics. Just type in your zip code to find a free clinic near you. Click here to access the database.
The US department of health and human resources also has a database of free clinics in your area. Click here to access the database.
HealthCentral has an excellent article on more ways to get assistance paying for treatment and medications. Click here to access the article.
How can I file a complaint against my insurance?
Click here to file a complaint directly with your state insurance department.
The Kennedy Forum is also a great website to assist in filing parity complaints. Check them out here.