Mental Health Insurance

What is mental health insurance?

Mental health insurance is a way to help pay for treatment for problems such as anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and behavior disorders in children.

The Affordable Care Act provides expanded mental health and substance use disorder coverage. The law now requires health plans cover mental health and substance use disorders services, behavioral assessment for children, and depression screening for adults.

How do I use mental health coverage?

Read your benefit booklet or call the customer service phone number on your insurance card to get answers to these questions:

  • Does my insurance plan cover mental health treatment?
  • What services are paid for by my insurance plan?
  • Do I need to have mental health treatment authorized ahead of time?
  • Are there limits on the number of visits?
  • How does the plan handle my diagnosis or preexisting condition?
  • Is there a preferred list of providers or network?
  • What is my copayment?
  • What is the annual dollar limit or lifetime limit for mental health coverage?

Once you know what your insurance covers, you can ask your healthcare provider for a referral. You might also ask friends about therapists they might recommend.

You may need to meet with a few therapists before you find the one who works best for you. Most therapists welcome the chance to meet for one session to answer your questions. Ask if there is a charge for this introductory session when you set the appointment.

What should I do if I need mental health insurance?

The US government has set up a web site to help uninsured people find health coverage. You can fill out the Marketplace application, and find out what your choices are for health insurance. For more information, contact:

  • Health Insurance Marketplace

Medicaid is a government program that helps pay for the cost of healthcare for people with low incomes and limited assets. Medicaid programs are different from state to state. The State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is a program that provides mental health coverage to children in families who cannot afford private insurance but have incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid.

You can get more information from your local social services department.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2014-10-28
Last reviewed: 2014-10-28
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.

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