|RICHMOND (April 29, 2020) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring is urging Virginians to seek mental health and substance abuse treatment resources if they need support in coping with the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic, and encouraging Virginians who may lose employer-based insurance to evaluate their options on www.Healthcare.gov to ensure they can affordably access the treatment they need.
“This pandemic is taking a toll on all of us and there’s no shame in reaching out for help and support,” said Attorney General Herring. “So many of our fellow Virginians are dealing with job loss, added stress from working at home or on the front lines of this fight, and the nagging anxiety created by the uncertainty of this pandemic. And unfortunately, many Virginians are dealing with sickness or loss of a friend, family member, or loved one. I hope any Virginian who needs support, services, or just someone to talk to will reach out for help, and if insurance coverage is a barrier, I encourage people to evaluate their options on Healthcare.gov. You may even qualify for financial assistance that could reduce or eliminate the out-of-pocket costs.”
In order to make mental health and substance abuse treatment more widely available to Virginians, Attorney General Herring and 20 of his colleagues sent a letter sent yesterday to the Trump Administration urging it to do more to highlight the availability of healthcare coverage, including for mental health and substance abuse treatment, through plans available on the “healthcare marketplaces” available on www.Healthcare.gov. Attorney General Herring previously urged the Trump Administration to authorize a “special enrollment” period to ensure Americans can get coverage during this pandemic.
In their letter, Attorney General Herring and his colleagues explain the urgent need for expanded access to healthcare coverage and mental health/substance abuse treatment:
“Broader availability of mental health services is imperative. Many Americans are suffering as millions of workers have lost their jobs, including many who have lost their healthcare coverage. Others are underinsured, and some low-wage workers lack employer provided health insurance. Many Americans, including workers whose jobs are essential during the emergency—truckers, grocery store workers, delivery carriers, cleaners—do not receive healthcare coverage through their employment. As a result, healthcare may be out of reach for Americans who need it the most. HealthCare.gov could be a lifeline for these people. The federal exchange can connect them with resources to preserve their physical and mental health and help them avoid both the financial costs of care and the negative consequences of untreated mental or behavioral health issues.”
Virginians who need mental health or substance abuse treatment or services are encouraged to contact the following organizations or others in their community: