Health Insurance: Behavioral Health Services

Your insurance plan may offer behavioral health benefits. In New York State, most insurance plans must follow State and Federal laws that protect your right to equal access and coverage of behavioral health services compared with other medical services.

If your insurance plan is covered by those laws, then any treatment for mental health and substance use disorders should be covered at the same level as other medical services. This is called behavioral health parity.

Equal Coverage

With the exception of a few plan types, most insurance plans in New York are required to cover treatment for mental health or substance use. Plans that offer such coverage must cover mental health and substance use treatment equally — with similar cost-sharing and benefits — as physical health conditions. This means the coverage for mental health and substance use disorders must be the same as what is offered for physical health conditions.

In many cases, if your insurer denies you coverage of a mental health or substance use treatment or service, you can appeal the decision. For free help getting mental health or substance use services, including through a denial appeal, contact the Community Health Access to Addiction and Mental Healthcare Project.

Service providers, care managers, case managers and peer specialists can also provide support and help you find resources.

Training for Health Care Workers

The Health Department also offers a free virtual training for people who provide services in health, behavioral health or social services. This includes mental health and substance use providers, primary care providers, peer specialists, community health workers and care managers.

The training, called "Behavioral Health Parity 101 for Service Providers", takes 60 to 90 minutes. For more information, email BHParity@health.nyc.gov. See below to register for upcoming dates:

Training for Community Members

The Health Department offers a free virtual training to help anyone with health insurance learn more about access to behavioral health services. It will give you information on how behavioral health parity applies to your health insurance plan and your access to services.

The training, called "Behavioral Health Parity 101", takes 60 to 90 minutes. For more information, email BHParity@health.nyc.gov. See below to register for upcoming dates:

Additional Resources

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