Mental health and substance abuse services are sometimes called behavioral health services. Some mental health services are paid for by most health plans. Different plans may have different mental health and substance abuse service benefits.

Some health plans work with another health insurance plan that specializes in mental health and substance abuse. Check the benefits handbook or call a member services representative at your child's health plan to learn more about mental health benefits.

Ask about:

  • How to find a mental health provider in the plan
  • The number of outpatient mental health visits the plan will pay for each year
  • The number of inpatient mental health hospital days the plan will pay for each year
  • How authorizations for inpatient and outpatient mental health services are arranged
  • What to do in case of a mental health emergency

Mental Health Parity Law

Massachusetts has a special law, called the Mental Health Parity Law, which requires most insurance plans in Massachusetts to provide equal coverage for mental and physical conditions. For example, this law makes sure that your child receives approval for the number of mental health office visits or hospital days he or she needs based on medical necessity.

For more information about the Mental Health Parity Law, contact:

  • Health Law Advocates, Inc. at 617-338-5241
  • National Association of Social Workers, Massachusetts Chapter at 617-227-9635
  • Parent/Professional Advocacy League (PAL) at 866-815-8122

This information is provided in part by the Division of Perinatal, Early Childhood, and Special Health Needs within the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and