Health Insurance and Mental Health Services
Q: How does the Affordable Care Act help people with mental health issues?
Answer: The Affordable Care Act provides one of the largest expansions of mental health and substance use disorder coverage in a generation, by requiring that most individual and small employer health insurance plans, including all plans offered through the Health Insurance Marketplace cover mental health and substance use disorder services. Also required are rehabilitative and habilitative services that can help support people with behavioral health challenges. These new protections build on the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA) provisions to expand mental health and substance use disorder benefits and federal parity protections to an estimated 62 million Americans.
Because of the law, most health plans must now cover preventive services, like depression screening for adults and behavioral assessments for children, at no additional cost. And, as of 2014, most plans cannot deny you coverage or charge you more due to pre-existing health conditions, including mental illnesses.
Q: Does the Affordable Care Act require insurance plans to cover mental health benefits?
Answer: As of 2014, most individual and small group health insurance plans, including plans sold on the Marketplace are required to cover mental health and substance use disorder services. Medicaid Alternative Benefit Plans also must cover mental health and substance use disorder services. These plans must have coverage of essential health benefits, which include 10 categories of benefits as defined under the health care law. One of those categories is mental health and substance use disorder services. Read more