Massachusetts expands access to behavioral health services

Massachusetts expands access to behavioral health services

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey recently reached an agreement with two companies that manage behavioral health coverage for insurers and five health insurance companies to provide improved access to behavioral health services to more than 1 million residents.

“Treatment for substance use disorder and access to therapy are vital to public health, but too many people are facing unlawful barriers to the care they need,” Healey said. “These companies are making substantial and unprecedented changes to help ensure patients don’t have to struggle to find behavioral health services in Massachusetts.”

The companies are AllWays Health Partners, Beacon Health Strategies, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Fallon Community Health Plan, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Tufts Health Plan, and United Behavioral Health d/b/a Optum.

The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act requires health insurers to apply the same rules to mental health benefits as medical and surgical benefits. Three insurance companies resolved claims that they violated the act and will change how reimbursement rates are determined for outpatient behavioral health services and will limit prior authorization for certain behavioral health care.

Every company agreed to make extensive changes to their provider directories. This will help members find behavioral health care providers more easily.