Finding the best mental health insurance coverage is essential for anyone being treated for mental health conditions. This article will explore the types of health insurance plans you can expect to find, how to choose the ideal option for your needs, and which companies we believe are the top insurance providers for mental health right now.
What Types of Health Insurance Plans are Available?
Here are some of the most common health insurance plans:
- Health maintenance organization (HMO): these health insurance plans often require referrals to be connected to specialists. However, you won’t be covered if you find care outside of the network unless it’s for emergency treatment.
- Preferred provider organization (PPO): These health insurance plans generally don’t require referrals from your doctor to see specialists. In addition, PPO plans provide access to medical care from a provider outside the network; however, the services are covered at a significantly smaller percentage.
- Exclusive provider organization (EPO): These health insurance plans will let you see a specialist without a referral if it’s in the network. In addition, EPO plans don’t pay for out-of-network care unless in a medical emergency.
How Do You Choose the Best Mental Health Care?
Many health insurance plans that we mentioned above cover mental health services. According to an AHIP study of insured Americans:
- 6 in 10 respondents stated their health insurance policy entirely covered their mental health treatment
- 3 in 4 said that it was simple to find support
To determine which mental health insurance will work best in your unique situation, consider the following:
- The size of the network: Insurance companies that have contracts with mental health providers in your area will give you the most extensive selection of professionals and facilities where you can find care.
- Virtual/online appointments: The best mental health insurance companies offer telehealth and virtual appointments. That way, you can access mental health treatment from any location.
- Covered services: When comparing insurance providers, research which services each plan covers. Choose a plan combining inpatient and outpatient services to gain the most comprehensive coverage.
- Referrals: Some health insurance plans need referrals from a primary care provider, while others don’t. If you want to manage your mental health care better, search for plans that don’t need a referral for mental health visits.
- Free resources: Some health insurance providers give free mental health resources for members, like apps or other tools.
If you are searching for accessible mental health resources, be sure to navigate our resources at LGBTQ and ALL.
Why is it Necessary to Have Mental Health Insurance?
There are many reasons why mental health insurance is so crucial. Mental health issues can arise for anyone at any point in their lifetime, and some may need the necessary treatment.
Mental health expenses do not come cheap. Therapy and prescription medications can be expensive, and paying out-of-pocket could add to your stress load. An insurance plan would ensure that you can access mental health care and be able to afford it.
Mental health services can also be life-saving. Choosing a health insurance company that covers mental health expenses is crucial if you suffer from a mental health condition.
What Mental Health Services Feature ACA-compliant Plans?
All ACA-compliant plans should feature mental health insurance coverage. In addition, your plan should cover part of the cost of mental health care, like it would for any medical condition. If you believe your plan is denying you mental health insurance coverage, you can discuss it with your plan provider or draw up a formal appeal.
All ACA plans must cover these mental health care services:
- Behavioral treatment (like therapy and counseling):
- Outpatient individual counseling or group therapy sessions
- Diagnostic services, like psychological testing and evaluation services
- Ongoing outpatient treatment, like psychiatric treatment programs and medication management
- Substance use disorder treatment:
- Outpatient diagnostic and treatment for alcohol or chemical dependency
- Medical services for withdrawal symptoms, like inpatient detoxification services
- Substance abuse recovery services, like counseling and education tools
- Mental and behavioral health inpatient services:
- It covers inpatient mental health care if you’re hospitalized at a mental health facility.
A Comparison of the Best Insurance Companies for Mental Health
We have chosen 4 top insurance providers for mental health and have highlighted the pros and cons of each one. These providers are Oscar, Kaiser Permanente, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Aetna.
- Most extensive selection of health management programs
- Affordable plans with depression management programs
- Telehealth with no out-of-pocket expenses
- Incredible mobile app
- You can only buy a plan in 21 states – be sure to research if they are available in your area.
- They have a lower NCQA plan rating.
- Some of the best customer satisfaction ratings from J.D. Power
- Excellent NCQA plan rating
- Members can access free mental health resources
- Plans are only sold in eight states, plus Washington D.C.
- There are only a few plan types.
Blue Cross Blue Shield
- There is coverage available across the nation
- They are rated highly for customer satisfaction
- A 4-star healthcare.gov rating
- Members receive discounts through the Blue365 program
- They are the biggest provider network
- Many of their plans aren’t affordable
- The plan types and costs are dependent on the location
- Affordable or free health services at CVS MinuteClinics
- They have many mental health management tools and resources
- They feature a premium tax credit that can cover 100% of the costs on all the plans
- ACA plans are not available across the nation
- The overall plan costs can be higher
Now that you know the best mental health insurance providers, you can research each one and determine what will work for your needs. At LGBTQ and All, we have a list of mental health professionals worldwide that can connect you with a qualified mental health provider. Navigate our free resources to find the right health provider today.