Private insurance for medical coverage often does not include coverage for mental health problems. In one year, 10% of the population suffers a mental health problem. The unwillingness of insurers to cover mental health is due in part to the subjective nature of diagnosis and treatment of mental illness. Insurers who do cover mental problems usually require a referral by a medical doctor in general practice (GP) before authorizing treatment, and they may impose other limits on the coverage. For example, mental problems due to drug or alcohol abuse are often not covered, or the length or cost of treatment may be limited.
Private insurers give a higher priority to healing acute conditions rather than chronic ones. Many mental health problems are long term and so are not covered adequately. Besides, clients are often not as interested in obtaining coverage for mental problems as they are for physical problems.