“mental health care accessibility problems with Kaiser’s insurance?”

photo by angela n.

“Dear PoPville,

I’ve had Kaiser for three years and have had an extremely difficult time trying to get help for mental health, specifically access to a therapist. Each time I try to access therapy they say that patients can not receive regular individual therapy services due to their “model” (in reality it is because they don’t have enough therapists for the number of members they have). Most recently, I completed an initial visit with a therapist who told me I could have my second appointment 3 months in the future and gave me a single book recommendation in the meantime.

They claim this is in accordance with their “model” which supposedly offers a mental health management plan based on severity of issues. In my case this is seriously inadequate for what I’m trying to work on. They also said that Kaiser will not assist with covering an out of network therapist, even though they are providing inadequate care. This is incredibly frustrating and could even be dangerous for some people to be blocked from accessing care this way, since accessing a private therapist in DC is like paying for a second rent. Any advice on how to deal with Kaiser on this issue? I’d like to get them to agree to cover out of network therapists at the same rate as in network, in accordance with the mental health parity act.”

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