Good news for Australian families who are wondering where their next dollar is coming from, and where to turn to, in meeting health care expenses. After a decade of collaborating and taking note of consumer experiences, the Mental Health Council of Australia and beyondblue: the national depression and anxiety initiative have launched the Mental Health and Insurance Project website.
Australians, like families in many countries, often face difficulties in accessing insurance policies and/or making claims against insurance policies as a result of their mental illness and are often unaware of their rights and responsibilities in relation to insurance applications and claims.
The MHIP website has been developed in collaboration with representatives from the insurance and financial services sectors to address information gaps and help families and patients to seek insurance products.
The website contains information on mental illness and insurance, including the relationship between mental illness and specific insurance products, consumer legal rights and responsibilities, the disability legislative structure that governs the insurance industry and consumer avenues for complaints and appeals. The Tell Your Story portal allows visitors to share experiences and assist advocacy efforts.
This website builds on the findings of the MHCA/beyondblue 2011 report, Mental Health, Discrimination and Insurance: A survey of consumer experiences 2011, which captured the experiences of Australians living with mental illness when accessing insurance products. Respondents reported a lack of awareness of their rights and responsibilities with insurance applications and claims. This one-stop online portal will improve knowledge and awareness of insurance practices for mental health consumers and their carers.
It’s good to see a step forward in gaining fair and equitable access to insurance for Australians with mental illness. This new website will help Aussies with mental illness and their carers to access information and learn about insurance applications and claims processes, when and where they need it. Service providers can help spread the word by informing patients and their carers of the website. Every bit of help counts.