Equity in Access to Mental Health and Addiction Care for all New Yorkers is Within Reach

By Leading New York Mental Health and Addiction Care Organizations | February 27, 2024

New Yorkers with private health insurance have poor access to community-based mental health and addiction services due to inadequate rates commercial health insurance plans pay the community providers.  According to a recent provider survey, commercial insurers pay (on average) just 50% of the reimbursement rate the State requires insurers to pay for the same services for New Yorkers with Medicaid insurance plans. Due to very low rates, access to critical mental health and addiction is jeopardized and such underpayment contributes to financial challenges these providers face to remain viable.

The impact on individuals and families with commercial insurance is the lack of access to essential services in the midst of a raging overdose epidemic and increasing suicide rates among young people and people of color in particular.

Governor Hochul has included a game changing proposal in her executive budget that would require commercial insurers to pay at least the same rate as the state’s Medicaid Program for the same services.  The proposal has the potential to vastly improve access to care for New York’s families, children and adults who have commercial health insurance but often find it impossible to locate a provider who can serve them.  We urge the State Legislature to embrace this proposal to address the crises occurring all across the State by including it in this year’s final budget.

New York State Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare

Families Together in New York State

Legal Action Center

Citizens’ Committee for Children

National Alliance on Mental Illness – NYS

Alliance for Rights and Recovery (formerly NYAPRS)

New York State Coalition for Children’s Behavioral Health

Federation of Mental Health Services

Mental Health Association in NYS

InUnity Alliance

Association for Community Living

NYS Care Management Coalition