New Consumer Protections for Behavioral Health Care Services

By Dorian Burr, Florida Department of Financial Services, Division of Consumer Services

When was the last time you had a conversation about mental health or mental illness? Mental health refers to an individual’s mental state of well-being; mental illness signifies an alteration of that well-being. Behavioral health is the blanket term that includes mental health and looks at how behaviors impact both physical and mental health. Even though millions of people are affected by mental illness each year, the subject is stigmatized and often shows up in its end stages as sad news involving overdoses, violence, or suicide. This year, world renowned athletes, actors, musicians, and even royalty talked openly about their struggles with mental health and the actions they were taking to become healthier. Hopefully, these headlines will lessen any discomfort people might feel when seeking help to better their own mental health or treatment for their mental illness.

Some pre-pandemic mental health statistics* in our country include:

The Florida Department of Financial Services Division of Consumer Services has a new Behavioral Health Care Services consumer protection section, to help Floridians better understand mental health benefits and insurance coverage that may be available to them. The web page includes information about behavioral and mental health; explanations of federal laws designed to prevent coverage discrimination between policyholders seeking mental health benefits and medical care; and frequently asked questions. There is also a consumer tips section on how to file an appeal for a denied pre-authorization or claim.

If you, a family member, or someone you know needs assistance with mental health or substance use disorder benefits, contact DFS by:

Also, be sure to check out the online financial literacy program, My Money. My Money is a specially designed financial literacy program that provides educational lessons for individuals with developmental disabilities and includes important resources for their family members and caregivers.

*Statistics from National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)