The National Alliance on Mental Illness applauds the Easter Seals' recent article encouraging lawmakers to improve health insurance plan benefits for millions of Americans ("Getting what you pay for in the ACA," Nov. 15).

At NAMI Maryland we strongly believe that the paramount mission of the Maryland Health Exchange is to work for the patients of Maryland, even though it must work through insurance companies.

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Easter Seals noted that the upcoming open enrollment period is an excellent opportunity to correct a number of shortcomings that have plagued the new system to-date. The opportunity to buy quality, affordable health insurance coverage should be available to all Americans, especially those with disabilities or pre-existing conditions.

NAMI Maryland wants to reiterate how exchange officials can ensure patients receive the effective, efficient and affordable care defined in the Affordable Care Act.

Access to products and services should be preserved and maximized; patients most in need of care should not face discriminatory cost-sharing; easy to understand information regarding rate-setting and plan designs should be readily accessible; and high out-of-pocket costs to patients should be limited.

We stand behind the Easter Seals when they say "the enrollees' biggest battle should be against their disease or condition — not their insurer."

Jessica Honke, Columbia

The writer is policy and advocacy director of NAMI Maryland.

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