Mental Health Insurance in the United States

Does Insurance Cover Mental Health?


The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires that all individual and family plans sold through the Health Insurance Marketplace include mental healthcare. When exploring mental health benefits, remember that your monthly premium and out-of-pocket costs will vary depending on the coverage level of the plan you choose. Understanding how your health plan options can support your care needs and budget will help you make informed decisions regarding your mental health.

The Importance of Mental Health Benefits in Insurance Coverage


In recent years, many people have experienced mental health challenges, with over 30% of adults in the United States reporting symptoms of anxiety and/or depression.1 Negative mental health outcomes have also impacted youth and young adults. 


Mental health insurance coverage is a vital component of whole-person care, ensuring that individuals managing ongoing conditions or experiencing temporary mental health challenges can access help from licensed professionals. 


Recognizing that mental health is crucial to overall well-being, Anthem is partnering with care providers to ensure that mental health is given the same priority as physical health.


To help members prioritize their mental health, insurers often offer virtual mental healthcare visits. By connecting with a mental healthcare provider through virtual sessions, you can conveniently seek the help or treatment you need from the comfort of your own home. This ease of access helps to remove barriers to seeking mental healthcare and offers an additional level of privacy.


Anthem offers its members virtual mental healthcare visits through the Sydney Health mobile app on their smart phone, tablet, or computer.2 The Sydney Health app allows you to schedule a virtual care visit with a licensed mental health professional for stress, anxiety, depression, family issues, and other health concerns. Psychiatrists are also available by appointment when needed. 



Mental Health Services Covered by ACA Plans


ACA-compliant insurance plans cover various mental health benefits, including:

  • Behavioral health treatment, including in-person or virtual psychotherapy and counseling, as well as inpatient services.
  • Psychological testing to assess and treat mental health symptoms.
  • Medication management, or coverage for medications prescribed by care providers to manage mental health conditions.
  • Substance abuse treatment, which may include rehabilitation programs or counseling. 

The above is not a comprehensive list and your specific mental health benefits will depend on your state and the health plan you choose.



How Much Do ACA Health Insurance Plans Cost?


While all Marketplace health plans include mental health benefits, the cost of coverage varies. In addition to your plan’s monthly premium, you may also encounter other out-of-pocket costs when accessing mental health services, including your deductible, copays, or coinsurance. The amount you pay for mental healthcare services and treatments depends on whether you seek care from network providers, virtual or in-person treatment, and any out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs to help manage your condition. Review the details of any insurance plan—including its mental health benefits and associated out-of-pocket costs for care—before you decide.


The ACA also established health insurance subsidies to help lower healthcare costs for individuals and families. Subsidies are based on income and household size. There are two types of ACA subsidies: Advanced Premium Tax Credits to lower your monthly plan premium, and Cost-Sharing Reductions to reduce costs for care, including your deductible, copay, and out-of-pocket maximum.



How to Choose an Insurance Plan with Mental Health Benefits


When choosing an insurance plan with mental health benefits, be sure to consider:

  • Individual Needs. Evaluate your mental health history, current concerns, and anticipated needs. Consider whether you’ll require ongoing therapy, medication management, or specialized mental health treatment.
  • Budget and Covered Benefits. Determine how much you can afford to spend on health insurance. Make sure the plan’s covered benefits align with your mental healthcare needs.
  • Access to Services. Review each plan’s network to ensure it includes your preferred mental healthcare provider. Also consider that virtual mental health visits may offer you additional convenience and accessibility to mental healthcare services.

By assessing these factors, you can choose ACA mental health coverage that meets your care needs, aligns with your budget, and ensures access to essential mental health benefits.



How To Buy ACA Health Insurance


You can purchase ACA Marketplace insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Anthem insurance plans available on the Marketplace include mental health benefits and offer a range of coverage levels for individuals and families, allowing you to compare and choose the best plan for you.


Enrollment in Marketplace insurance occurs during the annual Open Enrollment Period, which typically runs from November 1 to January 15. You may also qualify for a Special Enrollment Period if you experience a life event, such as losing other health coverage, moving, getting married, or having a baby.

Let Anthem Help You Navigate Mental Health Benefits

Mental health benefits are not just beneficial—they are essential to prioritizing your overall well-being. With Anthem's individual and family health plan offerings and dedicated support, you can confidently navigate your options and find the best coverage for you and your family. Let us help you secure the peace of mind that comes with a health plan that includes mental health benefits.

Shop Plans . Opens in new window

Frequently Asked Questions About the ACA and Mental Health Coverage



Are mental health benefits covered by Marketplace insurance?


The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires that all insurers offering individual and family plans on the Marketplace cover mental health benefits as essential healthcare.


What insurance covers mental health therapy?


All individual and family ACA plans sold through the Health Insurance Marketplace and directly from insurers cover mental health benefits, including therapy.


How much will I have to pay for mental health therapy and treatments?


Out-of-pocket costs for mental healthcare will depend on the plan you choose, and cost-sharing between you and the insurer.

Related Articles 



  1. Mental Health and Substance Use State Fact Sheets | KFF
  2. Virtual care visits, including medical chats and video visits using the Sydney Health app are at no cost to members for most plans. Those enrolled in High-Deductible Health Plans associated with a Health Savings Account and Catastrophic plans must first meet their deductible. Virtual care visits refer to medical chats and/or video consultation, as deemed appropriate by a licensed physician. In addition to using a telehealth service, you can receive in-person or virtual care from your own doctor or another healthcare provider in your plan’s network. If you receive care from a doctor or healthcare provider not in your plan’s network, your share of the costs may be higher. You may also receive a bill for any charges not covered by your health plan. Sydney Health is offered through an arrangement with Carelon Digital Platforms, a separate company offering mobile application services on behalf of your health plan.