The State of Emergency has been extended to April 20, 2021. It was scheduled to end next week on January 20th. This means psychotherapy through videoconferencing or audio only means will be covered by Medicare, and likely private insurers.
Listed below is new information about President-Elect Biden’s American Rescue Plan for expanding health care in four different areas when he takes office. These plans are designed to ensure: Expansion of Health Care; Expansion of Access to Behavioral Health Services; Ensuring Adequate Funding for Veterans; and Combating Gender-Based Violence. These are detailed below:
President-Elect Biden’s American Rescue Plan - Health Care Section
Expanding access to behavioral health services. The pandemic has made access to mental health and substance use disorder services more essential than ever. The president-elect is calling on Congress to appropriate $4 billion to enable the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Health Resources and Services Administration to expand access to these vital services.
Preserving and expanding health coverage. Roughly two to three million people lost employer sponsored health insurance between March and September, and even families who have maintained coverage may struggle to pay premiums and afford care.
Ensuring adequate funding for veterans’ health. COVID-19 has put enormous pressure on America's veterans and on the Veterans Health Administration that is charged with providing and facilitating top-notch care for them. The president-elect is committed to ensuring America delivers on its promise to the people who have served our country. To account for increased usage as many veterans have lost access to private health insurance, higher overall costs, and other pandemic-related impacts, the president-elect is immediately requesting an additional $20 billion to make sure that veterans’ health care needs can be met through this crisis.
Combat increased risk of gender-based violence. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated domestic violence and sexual assault, creating a “shadow pandemic” for many women and girls who are largely confined to their home with their abuser and facing economic insecurity that makes escape more difficult. President Biden is calling for at least $800 million in supplemental funding for key federal programs that protect survivors.
CSWA will continue to keep you informed about the issues that affect LCSWs and our patients.
Laura Groshong, LICSW, Director, Policy and Practice
Clinical Social Work Association