Mental Health Awareness Month: accessing mental health care using insurance


Every year, May is designated as Mental Health Awareness Month. In support of this effort, the Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI), part of the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA), is sharing new consumer resources to help people access mental health care using their insurance.

Getting mental health care is often a challenge — from overcoming stigma to understanding what’s covered and what it will cost, to finding the right provider to meet your needs.

“Your mental health is just as important as your physical health,” said Colorado Insurance Commissioner Michael Conway. “And just like physical health care, there can be barriers to getting mental health care. The division has a number of resources to help Coloradans overcome these barriers to get the care they need.” 

The DOI has two new consumer resources — videos to help people navigate insurance and their mental health benefits.: 

• “Understanding Your Mental Health Insurance Benefits”:

• “How to Use Your Insurance to Find a Mental Health Provider”:

Other mental health
parity and insurance

In addition to these videos, the DOI has developed resources for Coloradans who have questions about how their insurance works with mental health and substance use disorder services. 

Federal and Colorado law requires that health insurance companies cover services for mental and behavioral health conditions like they cover other medical conditions, like diabetes or heart disease — this is called “Mental Health Parity.” There are Mental Health Parity requirements on issues that include: 

• What you pay: copays, coinsurance, deductibles,. and out-of-pocket maximums (collectively referred to as cost-sharing).

• How much treatment you can get: limitations on the use of services, such as limits on the number of inpatient or outpatient visits that are covered.

• Utilization management tools: such as pre-authorization or step therapy requirements.

• Which doctors you can see: having adequate health care providers in-network to provide necessary services, coverage for out-of-network providers and considerations for geographic location.

Visit our website on mental/behavioral health and insurance at to learn more. 

Contact the DOI Consumer Services Team with any questions or problems you have with your health insurance as you or your family members access mental health care, including questions about: information from your health insurance company, lack of mental health providers, limiting of benefits or services, lack of communication and denied claims.

The Colorado DOI Consumer Services Team can be reached at (303) 894-7490, or (click on “file a complaint”).