Poll: Many Californians Unaware of Coverage for Mental Health Care

The majority of Californians do not realize that health insurance usually covers mental health care treatments, according to a new Field Poll, the Sacramento Bee reports.

The poll was conducted on behalf of the California HealthCare Foundation. CHCF publishes California Healthline.

The poll included 2,013 respondents and was conducted between June 5 and June 22 (Miller, Sacramento Bee, 9/17).


The poll found that 81% of respondents believed that treating individuals with mental health issues can help them lead healthy and productive lives.

About 77% of respondents said they would seek mental health counseling or treatment when necessary. However, just 60% of insured adults were aware that their health plan covers mental health treatment. Meanwhile, about 38% of Californians knew that health plans generally are required to offer such coverage with the same co-payments, deductibles and limits as other medical care.

Of respondents who said they or a family member had problems in the last year obtaining care for a mental health or substance misuse problem, 63% said they were unable to get treatment because of costs. In addition, about 47% of insured respondents cited a lack of coverage as the reason they could not obtain mental health care.


CHCF President and CEO Sandra Hernández said, “These results show that many Californians are open to seeking help when challenged by mental health problems or substance abuse, and most understand that treatment works” (Field Poll, 9/17).

However, Field Poll Director Mark DiCamillo said the findings also show that “people don’t recognize you can get covered for these services the same way you can for other medical services. People don’t fully recognize — even people insured — what their insurance has” (Sacramento Bee, 9/17).

Source: California Healthline, Wednesday, September 17, 2014