Mental health is an essential aspect of our overall well-being. Unfortunately, accessing quality mental health care can be a significant challenge for many people, particularly those without adequate health insurance coverage. Fortunately, many health insurance providers are starting to provide better coverage for mental health treatment, including Anthem Blue Cross and Kaiser Permanente. In this post, we will take a closer look at these providers and discuss some of the best insurance options for those seeking mental health care. Find out what’s the best insurance for mental health.
There are different types of health insurance plans that are available to meet the differing needs of individuals. Private insurances include both individual and group plans. Private plans require you to choose a plan and agree to pay monthly. This is your premium in exchange for the coverage. Eligibility for private insurance may depend on your employer.
You may need to ask your supervisor or human resources, manager. You may also be eligible for private health insurance through the marketplace [HealthCare.gov] if you live in the United States, are a U.S. citizen or national, are not currently incarcerated, and can’t get insurance through a job. (1)
The affordable care act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, has the landmark of covering mental and behavioral health issues. Prior to the ACA, such coverage was inconsistent. Individual and small-group health insurance plans are required to cover mental health and substance abuse disorders. This includes Medicaid and Medicare. (2) Private health insurance plans typically cover the following mental health services (1):
- Inpatient hospitalization
- Partial hospitalization
- Emergency care
- Prescription drugs
Standard ACA-compliant health insurance plans have the following benefits (3):
- Outpatient care
- Emergency services
- Pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care
- Mental health and substance use disorder services, including counseling and psychotherapy.
- Prescription drugs
- Rehabilitation services help people recover mental and physical skills.
- Laboratory services
- Preventative and wellness services, including chronic disease management.
- Pediatric services
Shopping for Plans
Some things to consider when shopping for mental health coverage.
- Checking for the plan’s network of physicians and medications. Make sure your preferred provider is in-network with your health plan if you have a preferred doctor or health care provider already. In addition, if you are on medications, make sure your medications are covered in the plan. Not all medications are covered by all insurance. This can make treatment expensive if they are not. (2)
- Short-term plans should be avoided. Short-term health care plans tend not to be regulated by the affordable care act, therefore, do not have to cover mental health and substance use disorders. (2)
- Customer service support. It is good to investigate how much support is provided in aiding you to find the right provider or support services. A good customer support service will aid you in finding a provider that can address your individual needs, symptoms, or diagnosis and can be helpful in finding specialty treatment. (2)
- Employee assistance program (EAP). This is an employer-provided program that includes mental health counseling and support. This service is usually provided for a relatively short duration to help with moderate issues. This service can be readily available and be at no cost and can aid as a referral guide as well. (2)
- Look if any services are excluded. Most plans cover inpatient rehabilitation and substance use though they don’t usually include long-term care, elective procedures, experimental procedures, complementary medicine, and non-medical counseling. (3)
In a medically reviewed analysis by Very Well Mind, the largest insurance companies that offer depression management programs through the federal health insurance exchange, healthcare.gov, and state exchanges, the following was found (3).
- Lowest cost plans for depression management: Oscar
- Best for customer satisfaction: Kaiser Permanente
- Best for nationwide plans: Blue Cross Blue Shield
- Lowest cost: Aetna
Covered California Health Exchange works with 11 different health insurance companies and allows you to view different healthcare plans, comparing plans and prices (4):
- Anthem Blue Cross
- Blue Shield of California
- Chinese Community Health Plan
- Health Net
- Kaiser Permanente
- A Care Health Plan
- Molina Healthcare
- Sharp Health Plan
- Oscar Health
- Valley Health Plan
- Western Health Advantage
Anthem Blue Cross is an example of a health plan provider offering tiered plans. Anthem describes a bronze plan, silver plan, gold plan, and platinum plan. These plans vary the coverage to better suit the needs of the subscriber. Anthem includes education on navigating the different costs such as deductibles, copays, coinsurance, and out-of-pocket maximum.
Anthem Blue Cross Mental Health
Anthem Blue Cross is a popular health insurance provider that offers coverage for mental health services. In particular, Anthem Behavioral Health is a program that provides mental health and substance abuse treatment services to individuals with Anthem Blue Cross insurance. The program offers a range of services, including outpatient therapy, inpatient hospitalization, and emergency care.
One of the most significant advantages of Anthem Behavioral Health is its network of providers. Anthem has a large network of providers, including psychiatrists, psychologists, and licensed therapists. This network means that individuals can easily find a mental health professional who is in-network and can provide the necessary treatment.
Does Kaiser Insurance Cover Mental Health?
Kaiser Permanente is another health insurance provider that offers coverage for mental health services. Like Anthem Blue Cross, Kaiser Permanente has a large network of providers, including mental health professionals such as psychiatrists and licensed therapists.
The specific coverage for mental health services will depend on the individual’s plan. However, Kaiser Permanente typically covers mental health services such as therapy and medication management. Kaiser Permanente also offers telehealth services, which can be a convenient way to access mental health care from home.
Types of health insurance plan categorized by most providers are HMO – Health maintenance organization. This plan requires referrals to see specialists and requires in-network providers unless it is emergency care. PPO – Preferred provider organization. This plan does not require referrals from your primary doctor and allows you to go outside of your network, though out-of-network services are covered at a smaller percentage. EPO – Exclusive provider organization plan allows you to see a specialist without a referral if the provider is in-network. Out-of-network providers are not covered unless it’s an emergency. (6)
Best Health Insurance for Mental Illness
When it comes to finding the best health insurance for mental illness, there are several options to consider. One of the most important factors to consider is the provider’s network of mental health professionals. Both Anthem Blue Cross and Kaiser Permanente have large networks of mental health professionals, making it easier to find a provider who is in-network and can provide the necessary treatment.
Another factor to consider is the specific coverage for mental health services. In particular, it is essential to look for coverage for outpatient therapy services, which are typically the most commonly used mental health services. Additionally, it can be helpful to look for plans that cover other types of therapy, such as art therapy or music therapy.
Access to quality mental health care is crucial for overall well-being. Fortunately, many health insurance providers are now offering better coverage for mental health services, including Anthem Blue Cross and Kaiser Permanente. When choosing a health insurance provider for mental health coverage, it is essential to consider the provider’s network of mental health professionals and the specific coverage for mental health services. With the right insurance coverage, individuals can access the mental health care they need to live healthy and fulfilling life.
Consider the network size if the insurance company covers many providers. Look for telehealth services (virtual). Look at what services are covered. Does the insurance company require referrals? Do they have any free resources? (6)