Kaiser Permanente Insurance Coverage for Video Game Addiction

Last updated on November 4th, 2019

teen boy sits outside on steps worriedVideo gaming is enjoyed by millions of Americans who anxiously wait for the next game to emerge and take on their friends. Yet these games have become a nightmare for some. This compulsive disorder is becoming more and more of a problem as games take on more real life features and some gamers begin to struggle to distinguish between the real world and the fantasy world of gaming. Video Game Addiction, while a new diagnosis that is not yet officially recognized as a disorder, can be a serious illness. Not only does it rob gamers of living a real life with real social interactions it can have physical affects including death. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders (DSM-IV) did not include video gaming addiction in its latest revisions. The American Medical Association also has not recognized the illness as a diagnosable disorder in its newest updates.

Does Kaiser Permanente Cover Treatment For Video Game Addiction?

Kaiser Permanente covers treatment for compulsive disorders on the majority of its policies, which includes video game addiction. Video Game addiction is considered a compulsive disorder and is covered under the mental health section of the insurance policy. Treatment can include medications, counseling or a combination of the two. Treating the illness can be a challenge because access to games can be obtained on nearly any electronic device including phones, tablets and computers. There is not a block that can be placed on these devices, like with pornography, which would limit access and exposure. As a result users must learn to manage their impulses, rather than completely abstaining as would be the case with illnesses like alcoholism. In addition to treating the gaming addiction therapists will also address other mental health issues which may include depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder and other social diseases. Addressing these issues can make an impact on the success of the compulsion disorder treatment from video gaming.

Type of Rehabs Kaiser Permanente Will Pay For

Because video gaming is considered a new disorder, treatment options will vary from program to program. Insurance companies are more apt to approve established programs with a proven track record, than a new program that offers experimental techniques. Introductory treatments will address the video gaming disorder through medication and behavioral therapies which might include individual and group sessions. If those methods do not find success then inpatient and outpatient programs are an option. There is also a 12-step program available through Online Gamers Anonymous.

How Much of The Cost of Rehab is covered by Kaiser Permanente?

Each policy will establish the rates and coverage that will be paid to treat the disorder. The policies will be different for individuals based on the policy and the state they live in. Coverage is payable based on the rates prescribed for mental health disorders. Rehab coverage will be subject to standard co-pays and potentially deductibles depending on the treatment selected. Medication coverage will also be included based on the policy terms.

Can I Pay Above What my Insurance Will Provide to Receive Treatment?

Treatment programs for compulsive disorders are rarely covered at 100 percent. Most require the policyholder to make co-pays and pay deductibles before the insurance will begin coverage. These out of pocket expenses should be determined before treatment begins. There are several factors that can impact out of pocket expenses. These include whether the doctor or program is considered in network or out of network. The insurance companies contracts with doctors and treatment programs to set pay rates. These companies offer higher coverage that those that have not contracted with the insurance company. For the out of pocket expenses, program facilities often provide payment plans so families can get treatment for those in need.

Inpatient Addiction Treatment vs. Outpatient Treatment

“Video Game Addiction, while a new diagnosis that is not yet officially recognized as a disorder, can be a serious illness.”

Inpatient treatment programs may be required for gamers who have a severe addiction. This provides 24 hour monitoring and care. Programs include a combination of medication, individual counseling and group therapy. They also have classes and programs that provide guidance and skill building so gamers can have other resources when they are depressed or anxious. These tools that can be used to combat the addiction triggers are essential to program success. Outpatient treatment programs will provide many of the same features and elements of the inpatient program without the overnight stay. Patients will stay in their homes and often complete other duties like work or school in addition to the treatment program. This allows flexibility in scheduling and is less expensive that inpatient treatment programs.

Should I Choose a Residential Rehab Center?

Men in their 20’s are the largest group that suffers from video gaming addiction. This group is also least likely to have a high degree of self-control needed to fight strong compulsions and expectations to play. Today’s games involve players joining groups and playing as teams. They “storm the castle” at specific times when everyone agrees to meet online. This dynamic creates a strong sense of belonging and a need to not disappoint members of the team. It can be difficult to break from these virtual reality characters and spend your life in the real world, without inpatient care. If medication and therapy have not worked and the case is considered severe, then inpatient treatment could be the best option.

Will Kaiser Permanente Pay For Local Rehab and Out-of-State Treatment?

Local rehab and out-of-state treatments programs are available. With the disorder still new, the number of treatment programs specific to gaming is limited and may require a program further away. General compulsive order treatment programs are more readily available. Coverage will vary by policy and the policy holder should check with the insurance company before starting any treatment program to determine coverage and out of pocket expenses. The coverage will be more dependent on if the program is within Kaiser’s network, rather than its specific location.

Does Kaiser Permanente Pay For Private or Luxury Treatment?

Kaiser Permanente offers coverage and the amounts will depend on the policy as to whether private and luxury treatment programs are included. This coverage will most likely include partial payments, often a certain amount for each day of treatment. Any costs over the maximum insurance payment will be the responsibility of the policy holder. Private and luxury amenities will drive the cost up and most likely increase out of pocket expenses. Luxury treatment programs offer additional services like gourmet meals and spa treatments. These amenities encourage the individual to stay for the full length of the program so they can fully overcome their addiction. Patients who leave the program early will often revert back to their old habits.

What Does Executive Treatment Offer Over Other Rehabs?

Executive treatment programs were established to help working executives gain the needed treatment without losing their employment or lose their income in order to get help. These facilities are equipment with computers, phones and other equipment needed to operate a business. Patients have limited access to this equipment for the purpose of conducting business while seeking treatment. This can be an important aspect of treatment for business owners and executives who otherwise would not be able to get help.

What Treatment Lengths Will Kaiser Permanente Pay For?

There are 30, 60 and 90 day programs available. For severe cases longer stays are available. Coverage with be determined by the policy. Often the policy will have a maximum per day and a maximum per occurrence. This amount will determine the length of stay the insurance will cover. It is also important to select a program that Kaiser approves. Verifying the insurance coverage before beginning a treatment program will enable the family to budget for any out of pocket expenses.

What If I Have No Insurance?

insurance-and-addictionStarting with the 12-step program, Online Gamers Anonymous, which is free for all participants is the first step. From there, many facilities offer payment plans or offer scholarships that can help pay for treatment. Local county offices often provide mental health services which are priced based on the individuals income. This can be an affordable way to gain counseling and medication.

Using Our Helpline to Determine Kaiser Permanente Rehab Options

Online gaming addiction should be taken seriously if it is having a negative impact on the gamer’s life. It may be hard for them to see they need help. Then it becomes the family’s responsibility to insist on help. If you or a loved one is suffering from video gaming addiction, call us at 1-888-716-9806. This assistance line will provide help and direction as you evaluate the services available and your next steps.

Questions and Answers

Will Kaiser Permanente Cover Multiple Rehab Stays?

Depends on the policy you carry and the state you live in.

Does Insurance Pay for Aftercare?

Aftercare can include addition therapy sessions, medication and other outpatient treatments. For long results aftercare is essential. Coverage will depend on the policy but will generally cover after care services.

Could Rehab Make My Insurance Premiums Higher?

Insurance policy rates are based on a number a factors. Generally speaking one claim or a series of therapy and doctor visits will not trigger an increase in premiums

Has The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) Affected Video Gaming Addiction and Mental Health Coverage?

The Affordable Care Act provides for expanded services when it comes to mental health disorders. The new requirements offer group policies that feature similar coverage that are found with other medical illnesses. This can provide higher levels of coverage for those seeking help for mental illnesses and compulsive disorders like video game addiction.

Does your insurance cover addiction treatment?

Use our free and confidential online insurance checker to see if your insurance covers treatment at an American Addiction Center facility.

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