What Can Science do to Promote Parity Between Mental and Physical Health in the Insurance Industry?by Tony Brown, BA, EMT | March 5, 2006
Despite the fact that science is now easing back the curtain and revealing the neuroanatomical correlates of mental illness, some insurance companies still refuse to cover mental health in their basic policies.
During our previous roundtable, I related my disappointment over the health insurance industry’s reluctance to grant mental health parity with physical health in its coverage. Despite the fact that science is now easing back the curtain and revealing the neuroanatomical correlates of mental illness, some insurance companies refuse to cover mental health in their basic policies. Later in the week, I tried to console myself by remembering that the bench-to-bedside journey of laboratory research averages seventeen years.
However, during some casual reading over the weekend, I was reminded of the fact that while molecular and cellular applications to mental health are relatively new, the biological basis of the same date back at least as far as Hippocrates in the fifth century B.C.E. (before the common era). Depression, for instance, known then as melancholy was presumed to be caused by an excess of black bile (melas, “black”, + khole, “bile”). “So,” I thought to myself, “why, given a twenty-five hundred year head start, has science seemingly regressed in the recognition of a mind-body connection when it comes to mental health?” What can science do to promote parity between mental and physical health in the insurance industry?
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