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Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Treatment

The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 is a federal law that protects your mental health and substance use disorder treatment paid for by health insurance. This law requires certain health plans to cover mental health and substance use disorder benefits the same as they do physical health benefits.

Some examples of limits on physical and mental health and substance use disorder services are:

  • Copayments
  • Deductibles
  • Yearly visits
  • Prior authorizations
  • Proof of medical necessity
  • Pharmacy benefits
  • Sufficient provider choice 

If you or someone else needs help

  • The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 is a federal law that protects mental health and substance use disorder insurance benefits offered within many health plans. This law and several State of Minnesota laws require that these benefits are generally treated in equity with physical health benefits.
  • Every county in Minnesota has a mental health crisis line. Get a complete list.
  • For individuals and family members facing mental health or substance use disorders, call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Helpline at
    1-800-662-HELP (1-800-662-4357).
  • If you or someone you know is in a suicidal crisis, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides immediate assistance and connects callers to the nearest available suicide prevention and mental health provider at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).
  • Get information on mental health services for adults and services for children.

How you may benefit

Generally, health plans should not impose:

  • Higher copays and deductibles for mental health and substance use disorder care, compared to physical health care.
  • Greater limits on the number of visits for outpatient mental health and substance use disorder care, compared to physical health care. 
  • Prior authorization requirements for mental health and substance use disorder care that are more restrictive than those for physical health care.

For Providers

Providers are encouraged to assist their patients’ in understanding their rights to insurance coverage for mental health and substance use disorder coverage. 

For health insurance issues in Minnesota, or if you think a patient’s or client’s benefits are being administered in violation of state or federal laws, contact the Minnesota Department of Commerce at 651-539-1600 (800- 657-3602, Greater MN-only) or KnowYourHealthInsuranceRights@state.mn.us

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