People seeking mental health care can face challenges when trying to find assistance through their insurance companies.

While there is a great deal of discussion concerning a nationwide mental health crisis, there has been very little attention given to what is perhaps the greatest barrier to care: commercial insurance plans that do not provide sufficient access to behavioral health services.

A recent study by the Healthy Minds Policy Initiative looked at gaps in Oklahoma’s commercial insurance networks. It documented the struggles that too many of us face when trying to find mental health and substance use care. The overarching theme of the report was very clear. Even though we pay for coverage, using our health plans to find services when in need is often difficult and overwhelming.

Healthy Minds found that any given health plan in Oklahoma omits at least 70% of licensed behavioral health providers in the state. As you might imagine, that significantly complicates a person’s ability to find a provider in their area. To make it worse, when Healthy Minds tried to contact a sample of providers listed as in-network by various plans, barely a third were reachable. Listed contact information was often not accurate.

By badas

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