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Every year, one in five adults experiences a mental health disorder, and one in 25 adults experiences a serious mental illness. Topping the list of most common mental health conditions is anxiety, followed by depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). But while millions of Americans suffer from mental health illnesses, less than 50% ever get treatment.
If you’re experiencing a mental health disorder or emotional distress, it’s important to find professional support. To help you learn about insurance options, we rated and reviewed the best providers for mental health care based on features like plan options, plan costs, state availability, and plan ratings. We only chose insurers that offer depression management programs to individuals getting health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace, healthcare.gov.
Best Insurance Companies for Mental Health of 2023
- Best for Health Management Programs: Oscar
- Best for Customer Satisfaction: Kaiser Permanente
- Largest Provider Network: Blue Cross Blue Shield
- Best for “Urgent” Care: Aetna
- Our Top Picks
- Kaiser Permanente
- Blue Cross Blue Shield
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Best for Health Management Programs : Oscar
Biggest selection of health management programs
Low-cost plans with depression management programs
Telehealth with $0 out-of-pocket costs
Excellent mobile app
Can only buy a plan in 21 states
Low NCQA plan rating
If you’re suffering from specific health issues, consider an insurer that provides a health management plan for your condition. Out of the providers in our roundup, Oscar has the largest selection of health management programs, with coverage for conditions like depression, asthma, and diabetes.
Oscar also stands out for its affordability for plans with depression management. In our review of the best affordable health insurance companies, Oscar was named “best overall.” While it doesn’t offer the lowest-premium plan in the areas we reviewed, its premiums, on average, are lower than the competition. This means you have more selection at a more affordable price point.
Oscar offers telehealth services to all plan members, with $0 urgent care and primary care with most plans. Oscar also has a highly rated mobile app, where you can make appointments, refill prescriptions, view your ID cards, and more. You can even earn Amazon gift cards for tracking your daily steps in the app.
Oscar’s plans are only available in 22 states, and plans are rated two out of five stars by healthcare.gov. The company’s average plan rating with the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) is 2.75 out of 5 stars, which is the lowest rating out of the providers in our list.
Best for Customer Satisfaction : Kaiser Permanente
Best customer satisfaction ratings from J.D. Power
Excellent average NCQA plan rating
Members get access to free mental health resources
Plans sold in eight states plus Washington D.C.
Few plan types
In J.D. Power’s 2022 Commercial Member Health Plan Study, Kaiser Permanente had the highest overall customer satisfaction rating in five regions. It also won “best for customer satisfaction” in our reviews of the best health insurance companies for college students and the best health insurance companies for small businesses.
Kaiser’s average NCQA plan rating is 4.27 out of 5, which is the highest average rating out of all the providers we reviewed, and supports Kaiser’s commitment to plan quality and member satisfaction.
Kaiser’s health plans provide standard coverage for mental health services and free access to mobile apps like Calm, Ginger, and myStrength. Telehealth is covered at no extra cost with most plans.
However, Kaiser plans are only available in eight states plus Washington D.C., and PPOs are unavailable, which means you need to stay strictly in-network for care.
Largest Provider Network : Blue Cross Blue Shield
Coverage available nationwide
Highly rated for customer satisfaction
4-star healthcare.gov rating
Member discounts through the Blue365 program
Biggest provider network
Many plans aren’t cheap
Plan types and costs depend on location
Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) members can get coverage outside their home service area while traveling domestically or internationally with the BlueCard program. The company’s network is larger than any other insurer, with 1.7 million doctors and hospitals nationwide.
Plan members get access to telehealth for a variety of services, including mental health care. BCBS also operates the Blue365 program, which provides discounts on things like travel, fitness trackers, hearing aids, vision exams, supplements, and healthy foods.
BCBS has excellent customer satisfaction ratings by J.D. Power, earning the top spot in 9 regions. And healthcare.gov gives its plans four stars. These are a couple of reasons it shows up repeatedly in our “best of” lists, earning the title of “best overall” in our reviews of the best health insurance companies, the best catastrophic health insurance companies, and the best health insurance for small businesses.
However, BCBS premiums aren’t the lowest. The lowest monthly premium for a BCBS plan with depression management is $359.82 in Miami-Dade County, Florida (almost $30 more expensive than Oscar’s cheapest comparable plan). It’s also about $30 more for the least expensive plan in El Paso County, Texas.
Best for “Urgent” Care : Aetna
Low cost or free health services at CVS MinuteClinics
Mental health management tools and resources
Premium tax credit can cover 100% of costs on all plans
ACA plans are not available nationwide
Overall plan costs can be high
Aetna plan members can access low-cost or free same-day healthcare services at CVS MinuteClinics, including mental health screenings and counseling. This can be a great alternative to urgent care and ER visits if you live near a CVS and need same-day care for a minor illness or injury. Aetna also offers telemedicine for primary care and behavioral health appointments, as well as free tools like MindCheck®.
If affordability is crucial to you, every Aetna plan purchased on the federal Marketplace is eligible to be covered in full by tax credits, which means your premium could be reduced to $0 if you qualify. But if you don’t qualify for the premium tax credit, we found Aetna’s plan costs to be about average, overall. But the company has made cheaper plans available in 2023 in some areas. For example, in El Paso County, Texas, the lowest premium bronze plan was $315.16 per month in 2022. However, Aetna offers a 2023 bronze plan with better benefits in the same area for $286.40 per month. We hope Aetna continues the trend in other areas as well!
The last thing you want to do when choosing the best health insurance for your mental health is stress over it. Start by considering the providers on this list. See which are available in your area. If you qualify for the advance premium tax credit, pricing may be less of an issue for you, but Aetna’s plans are most likely to be $0 after the tax credit is applied. If you’re not eligible for the tax credit, Oscar offers the most plan choices at a lower price point, but may not be the cheapest overall. If customer service and satisfaction are most important to you, consider a plan from Kaiser or BCBS.
Is Mental Health Covered by Insurance?
Certain types of mental health care are covered by insurance. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), all health plans purchased through the Marketplace must include coverage for mental health as an essential health benefit. Some of the services covered include counseling, inpatient services, and substance abuse treatment. To find the best insurance companies for mental health, compare benefits and quotes from providers in your area.
How Much Is Health Insurance?
The cost of health insurance depends on a variety of factors, including your age, location, tobacco use, plan category, and whether you qualify for the advanced premium tax credit, which is based on your household income. The cheapest health insurance plans are bronze plans, which tend to run from just below $300 to well over $400 per month for a 35-year-old, depending on your location, the carrier, the deductible, and benefits. Silver plans tend to run about $100 more per month, based on our review of nationwide carriers.
What Are Essential Health Benefits?
There are 10 essential health benefits that every health insurance plan sold on the Marketplace must cover. Each plan must provide coverage for these services, regardless of the plan category. The 10 essential health benefits are:
- Preventative care and wellness services, including disease management
- Pediatric care (includes dental and vision care)
- Emergency services
- Outpatient care
- Maternal care, including pregnancy, newborn care, and postpartum care
- Mental health and substance use disorder treatment
- Rehabilitative services and other habilitative services, like occupational therapy
- Prescription medications
- Lab testing
How We Chose the Best Insurance Companies for Mental Health
To choose the best insurance companies for mental health, we looked at the largest health insurance companies nationwide. We narrowed down the list by selecting providers that offer depression management programs through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Each of these companies was evaluated using a series of criteria, including state availability, average NCQA plan ratings, healthcare.gov plan ratings, J.D. Power customer satisfaction scores, plan types and metal tiers, the number of health management programs available, and the cost of plans. To gauge plan costs, we considered premiums, copays, and deductibles for plans in all four metal tiers across age groups in two ZIP codes, representing the states with the highest enrollment in Marketplace plans.
We do not offer every plan available in your area. Any information we provide is limited to those plans we do offer in your area. Please contact Medicare.gov or 1-800-MEDICARE (TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048) 24 hours a day/7 days a week to get information on all of your options.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "About Mental Health."
Oscar. "Virtual Urgent Care."
Oscar. "FAQs: What’s Special About the Oscar App and How Do I Download It?"
Oscar. "Oscar Plan Brochure 2022 Individual and Family Plans," Page 3.
J.D. Power. “2022 U.S. Commercial Member Health Plan Study.”
Kaiser Permanente. "Understanding Mental Health."
Kaiser Permanente. "Telehealth Is Easy — Here’s How It Works at Kaiser Permanente."
Kaiser Permanente. "Getting Care Away From Home," Page 5.
Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS). "BlueCard Ensures Members Can Access Coverage while Traveling Out of State."
Blue Cross Blue Shield. "The Blue Cross Blue Shield System."
Blue Cross Blue Shield. "Media Statement: Blue Cross and Blue Shield Companies Announce Coverage of Telehealth Services for Members."
Blue Cross Blue Shield. "Blue 365."
Aetna. "Your Mental Health and Well-Being."
U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Healthcare.gov. "Health Benefits & Coverage."