Even with health insurance, many Oklahomans face mental health care barriers


Healthy Mind Policy Initiative Research We found that many in Oklahoma either do not use or pay high fees for out-of-network services due to barriers to mental health care.

The study found that the majority of mental health providers in the state are out of network with most insurance plans. The company with the broadest network included only about 30% of the state’s providers.

The authors of the study wrote that when insurers provide their members with directories of potential providers, they tend to be incomplete. so most of the list is unreachable.

“The impact of underresourced and inaccessible mental health services is well documented, and untreated or inadequate mental illness has wide-ranging consequences for people, taxpayers and systems,” the authors wrote. “These include deteriorating mental health and symptoms of substance abuse, poor academic performance in students, involvement of the justice system in people experiencing mental health crises, and inadequate access to prisons and emergency rooms. This includes the higher cost of providing treatment in a care setting.

About two million people, or one in two Oklahomans, have traditional private health insurance.

Other key findings from the study published last week include:

  • The majority of behavioral health providers listed by insurance networks appear either unavailable or unreachable. Phone lines are often disconnected.
  • Even when behavioral health providers are active in the network, many are unable to see their clients in a timely manner.
  • Network Directory offers fewer behavioral health providers for rural Oklahoma and people with complex needs such as substance use treatment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to content