Behavioral Health Parity
Behavioral health is another way to say mental health and substance use. Behavioral health parity means that health insurance covers substance use and mental health conditions and services in an equal way compared with other kinds of health conditions and services.
The demand for mental health and substance use services and treatment is rising. Increasing rates of mental health conditions, the on-going opioid and addiction crises, and the trauma felt by all Georgians during the COVID-19 pandemic illustrate the need for easy access to affordable, quality mental health and substance use care.
Behavioral health parity would allow Georgians access to the services they need without facing financial hardships or jumping through unnecessary hoops with their insurance company. Without parity, Georgian families are more likely to delay care, go out of their insurance network, and pay more for behavioral health services.
Effectively implementing and enforcing behavioral health parity in Georgia is a low-cost and effective way to increase access to care for all Georgians with insurance, to improve mental health and substance use outcomes, and to lower the need for mental health and substance use emergency services or hospitalizations as consumers access care earlier.
Federal law already requires most health insurers to apply behavioral health parity to individual, job-based, and Medicaid health plans. This law is only meaningful if insurers are implementing it well, consumers and providers understand how it works, and there is appropriate oversight by state leaders. Georgians for a Healthy Future supports action by state agencies to strictly and consistently enforce the federal law using all available tools. We also support Georgia legislation that builds on the federal law so that Georgia consumers actually receive the mental health and substance use insurance benefits that they are entitled to and for which they have paid.
Learn more about GHF's advocacy around behavioral health parity through the resources and information on this page.