Thursday, September 15, 2016

Recognizing there is a growing need to educate consumers with health insurance coverage in New Hampshire about how to navigate addiction and mental health care services, the University of New Hampshire School of Law and UNH’s Institute for Health Policy and Practice, in collaboration with the nonprofit New Futures, have developed a guide to help individuals and families in the state access addiction and mental health care services.

Under the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, consumers have rights that can help them access and pay for treatment. The Resource Guide for Addiction and Mental Health Care Consumers: Answering Questions About Addiction and Mental Health Care Coverage, is part of a statewide educational effort to help consumers learn how to access health insurance and use their coverage to pay for necessary treatment.

“Development of this resource has truly been a collaborative effort with input from stakeholders, providers and policy makers across the state, including dedicated students at the UNH School of Law focusing on health law and policy studies,” said Lucy Hodder, director of the UNH health law and policy program.

New Hampshire continues to experience a substance misuse crisis, high rates of depression and anxiety, as well as significant shortages in services and supports for those who need addiction or mental health treatment. Many people seeking addiction or mental health care services have difficulty finding and paying for treatment, despite having health insurance coverage.

“With an estimated 500 deaths from drug overdoses anticipated in New Hampshire in 2016, this guide is a significant step in raising awareness around the rights consumers have to access the coverage they need,” said Michele Merritt, associate director for New Futures. “New Hampshire simply cannot look to build an infrastructure for treatment and recovery in this state without first, having clear and accessible resources for individuals and families on how to navigate accessing treatment and recovery services through their health insurance providers.”

The guide was made possible through the generous support of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and the Endowment for Health.

New Futures is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that advocates, educates and collaborates to prevent and reduce alcohol and other drug problems in New Hampshire. New Futures envisions a State and local communities where public policies support prevention, treatments and recovery oriented efforts to reduce substance misuse problems.

The UNH Health Law and Policy Program is a close collaboration between the UNH School of Law, the College of Health and Human Services and the Institute for Health Policy and Practice, focusing on education and research in health law and policy.

The University of New Hampshire, founded in 1866, is a world-class public research university with the feel of a New England liberal arts college. A land, sea, and space-grant university, UNH is the state's flagship public institution, enrolling 13,000 undergraduate and 2,000 graduate students.