Unemployed, homeless – how to get mental health care

How can an unemployed and homeless young adult that is still under their parent’s health insurance get medical attention for mental health issues if they cannot pay for the doctor’s visit?

Couch Surfer

Dear Couch Surfer,

Your parent’s health plan, if it meets health reform standards, covers mental health care.  Mental health and substance abuse services are “essential health benefits” under health reform.  All plans are required to cover these.

You will need to find a therapist who accepts your parent’s plan, if you want to use that.  As a homeless person, you will also likely qualify for low-cost or free care at public clinics.  You may also qualify for Medicaid, depending upon what state you live in.  Check the Kaiser Family Foundation’s list of Medicaid expansion states.  You can have Medicaid and your parent’s plan at the same time.

The homeless shelter will have someone on staff who can help you apply for Medicaid.  They may even be able to help you find a therapist.

The good news is that there is support for you.  Best wishes for your future.

Linda Riddell

About Linda Riddell

A published author and health policy analyst with 25 years’ experience, Linda Riddell's goal is to alleviate the widespread ailment of not knowing what your health plan can do for you.