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May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Mental Health Awareness Month is a time to put self-care first, to build up strength to overcome hard times, and to extend kindness and support to those around us. It's also a month to educate ourselves, to push for change, and to create communities where mental health is considered and valued.

May is Mental Health Awareness MonthMental Health by the Numbers

Many people in the U.S. are affected by mental illness each year. It’s important to know how common mental illness is, so we can understand its physical, social and financial impact — and so we can show that no one is alone. These numbers are also powerful tools for raising public awareness, and removing negative thoughts about people with mental illnesses (National Alliance on Mental Illness):

  • 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year

  • 1 in 20 U.S. adults experience serious mental illness each year

  • 1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year

  • 50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24

  • Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10-14

If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org to reach the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.

Raising awareness for mental health has never been more important and is necessary for increased understanding, aiding early intervention, having better self-management skills, building up support systems, using our voices for change, and stopping crises.

Check out our events page to find local mental health & wellness events happening this month throughout Maryland.

Health Coverage for Behavioral and Mental Health Services

Behavioral and mental health services are covered by all health plans offered through Maryland Health Connection.

  • Behavioral health treatment including psychotherapy and counseling

  • Mental and behavioral health inpatient services

  • Rehabilitative and habilitative services

  • Prescription drugs

  • Emergency services

  • Plans also cover free preventive services, including depression screenings for adults and behavioral assessments for children.

Compare plans and costs, see what financial help you may qualify for, and enroll. Download the free Enroll MHC mobile app (via Apple or Android) to apply or find help from your phone or tablet.

Blog

2024 Health Coverage Laws in Maryland

New Laws Maryland Health Connection

A few new Maryland laws go into effect January 1st, 2024, that expand health coverage for consumers enrolled in Medicaid and private health plans. Here’s what you need to know.

Gender Affirming Care

Gender affirming care is now part of Medicaid coverage. Now Medicaid covers medically needed care that upholds the safety, dignity and respect of transgender and gender expansive people. Gender affirming care is for those who need medical care to make their body match their lived gender. Services include:

  • Hormone therapy and lab testing
  • Voice surgery, therapy and lessons
  • Hair removal and transplants
  • Fertility preservation services
  • Facial surgery
  • Top surgery
  • Gender affirming surgery
  • Preventative care after transition
  • Revision or reversal of prior gender-affirming procedures

More info about Medicaid coverage for gender affirming care.

Coverage for biomarker testing

Biomarker testing is now covered in all private health plans. It will be covered in Medicaid beginning July 1, 2025. Biomarker testing is extremely helpful in detecting, treating, managing, and monitoring various cancers. This coverage can still be subject to cost-sharing, but may not be greater than the cost for similar coverages.

More about targeted treatments to improve survivorship.

Cost-sharing eliminated for diagnostic and supplemental breast examinations

Private health plans may no longer impose any cost-sharing for coverage of both diagnostic and supplemental breast examinations, with one exception: insurers may still subject the costs of examinations to deductible requirements for those with a high-deductible health plan.

Coverage for lung cancer screening

Private health plans are now required to cover recommended follow-up imaging for the diagnosis of lung cancer. Coverage can still be subject to cost-sharing but may not be greater than those imposed on breast cancer screening and diagnosis, and coverage can still be subject to deductible requirements for those with high-deductible health plans.

How do I know if I have a high deductible plan?

High deductible plans usually have lower monthly premiums, but you will have to pay more out-of-pocket for health care services before your insurance company starts to pay

To find out if you have a high deductible plan, you can check your plan's Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) or contact your insurance company.

Blog

Young Adult Subsidy Program Expands Age Range

Young Adult Subsidy Maryland Health ConnectionGood news for young adults in Maryland who need health coverage!

Young adults ages 18-37 are now eligible for additional discounts through the young adult subsidy program. Previously, the state program only provided savings for adults through age 34. The savings are combined with those already available through the marketplace.

Monthly premiums dropped by about $40 on average for more than 33,000 young adults who qualified in 2023, in addition to other savings. The subsidy works on a sliding scale for those with the youngest and lowest income young adults paying the least.

The program's goal is to encourage more young adults in Maryland to enroll in health coverage. Young adult enrollments surpassed 50,000 in 2022 - 7% more than a year earlier.

To find out how much you can save, use the Get an Estimate tool beginning in early October 2023. The amount of financial help you receive will vary based on your income, family size and ZIP code. Examples of discounts for 2024 are:

If you are age 25 in Baltimore City with a lowest cost gold plan and making $27,500, your new monthly payment is $0.
If you are age 28 in Allegany County with a lowest cost gold plan and making $33,000, your new monthly payment is $5.53.
If you are age 30 in Prince George’s County with a lowest cost gold plan and making $38,500, your new monthly payment is $57.14.

Open enrollment begins Nov. 1, 2023 and runs through Jan. 15, 2024.

Blog

Good News for Noncitizen Pregnant Marylanders

Healthy Babies Equity Act Maryland Health Connection

In the past, eligibility for Medicaid required pregnant individuals to be residing in Maryland lawfully and have certain immigration statuses. 

Thanks to the Healthy Babies Equity Act, effective July 1, 2023, noncitizen pregnant individuals in Maryland of any immigration status will now have access to Medicaid coverage.

The benefit will provide coverage during pregnancy and for four months after the baby is born. Medicaid may help pay for health care you had three months before you applied. 

Medicaid will pay for many different services, not just those related to the pregnancy.

An individual may qualify for this coverage if they meet the following criteria: 

  • Noncitizen (e.g., undocumented) who does not qualify for  Medicaid solely due to immigration status;
  • Maryland resident; 
  • Currently or recently pregnant;
  • Income up to 250% federal poverty level (FPL).

The best way to know if you can get Medicaid is to apply. 

Starting July 1, 2023, you can apply:

For more information, visit:

https://health.maryland.gov/mmcp/medicaid-mch-initiatives/Pages/healthybabies.aspx 

Blog

A New Law Makes Coverage For Your Family More Affordable

Family Glitch Maryland Health ConnectionThanks to a new law this year, many more families can get financial help to purchase a high-quality health plan on Maryland Health Connection.

In the past, your family was not able to get financial help if your job offered health coverage.

Some employers, like small businesses, offer health care. However, it can be too expensive to get coverage through the employer for the entire family. But because your job offered coverage, your family was not eligible for financial help through Maryland Health Connection.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2023, family members will be able to receive financial help even if you have affordable employee-only health coverage. Affordability for family members will now be based on the cost an employee has to pay for family coverage.

In Maryland, 53,000 individuals were affected by what was called the family glitch.

That means that some people who haven’t qualified for financial help in the past can get help to lower the cost of premiums. It’s worth checking this year to see if your family can save more on health insurance. If you have job-based coverage, but haven’t been able to afford health coverage for your family — get an estimate through Maryland Health Connection. See if your family can save on coverage for 2023.

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