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Finding the Sweet Spot in Every Lemon

And so it happened. Really, it’s super disappointing but not surprising. We received word of the final decision about insurance coverage for Chloe’s residential treatment. DENIED – $300,000 out-of-pocket our family has paid – NOT A PENNY REIMBURSED.

The reason the insurance carrier stated? It wasn’t medically necessary and treatment could have been provided at a lower level? Really, WHERE?

The reason the insurance carrier stated? It wasn’t medically necessary and treatment could have been provided at a lower level? Really, WHERE? We ask, but the insurance company is not obligated to provide us names of programs or facilities that could have offered her care, or follow-up care. And, really, there are little to no programs or resources covered by health insurance for privately-insured families in many states.

It’s not as if our journey desperately searching for answers and resources for Chloe and our family started merely months before we sent her to a therapeutic boarding school in Utah three years ago. We scoured our community and state looking for help and living in crisis day-after-day. She had, in fact, been admitted to two residential treatment centers in our home state three years prior to Utah, with not much success. Additionally, she has been seeing psychiatrists and counselors since she was six-years-old.

Our decision to send Chloe to residential treatment wasn’t made flippantly. She had gone down a dark path with an unhealthy group of kids, been beaten up several times and stated she wanted to end her life. If that isn’t gut-wrenching enough, we knew she wouldn’t go willingly to treatment, so we paid a secure transport company to come into our house during the middle of the night to take her to the program in Utah. Read that story here.

Furthermore, while in treatment, Chloe received a psychological evaluation that strongly recommended that she stay in the program for as long as necessary, as her neurological deficits made her a very high risk for relapse and future problems.

Now I ask, who in the hell easily sends their child to residential treatment in the middle of the night with strangers, at the tune of $300,000, if they can access effective care near their home?

Now I ask, who in the hell easily sends their child to residential treatment in the middle of the night with strangers, at the tune of $300,000, if they can access effective care near their home? And, how many families in the same position can afford this step to save their child’s life? Jeff and my parents helped us with Chloe’s tuition. Had they not, Chloe may not be here today.

So, where do I find the sweet spot in this lemon, you ask? Well, it sure keeps my fire lit to continue to advocate for equitable mental health resources and coverage. It also pushes me to continue sharing my story to shed light on the pervasive effects shame and stigma have on our insurance, school and justice systems.

You are not alone! #SqueezeOutStigma

Andrea Berryman Childreth

Author Andrea Berryman Childreth

Andrea Berryman Childreth is the author of the book, ON THE EDGE: Help and hope for parenting children with mental illness, and founder of The Lemonade Project. She has first-hand experience with parenting a mentally ill daughter and has struggled with mental illness, herself. Her goal is to help empower people to unapologetically share their stories and improve access to equitable mental health services.

More posts by Andrea Berryman Childreth

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