What is mental health parity?

Equal coverage for behavioral health services.

Mental health parity requires your mental health coverage to be equal to or better than what it would be for similar medical and surgical coverage. This applies to both cost of treatment and how treatment is managed for mental health services:

Examples of cost of treatment

  • Copayments
  • Coinsurance
  • Deductibles
  • Out-of-pocket expenses

Examples of how treatment is managed

  • Prior authorization requirements
  • Not covering certain types of services
  • Access to medications
  • Number of visits covered

Mental health parity

What mental health parity means for you

We cover medically necessary treatment of mental health disorders and substance use disorders for all of our members. No referral is needed to get access to behavioral health services. Note: Only services offered through in-network providers will be covered, unless approved by Sharp Health Plan.

For details about how your plan covers behavioral health services, review your latest Summary of Benefits and Member Handbook in your Sharp Health Plan online account.


Contact our Customer Care team.

We’re here to ensure that you have the best health care experience possible. If you have questions or a complaint related to coverage for behavioral health conditions, give us a chance to help. Call Customer Care using the phone number on the back of your Sharp Health Plan member ID card. Or you can file a formal complaint with a grievance form online at any time.

To learn more about the federal and state mental health parity laws, we recommend checking out these handouts from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Department of Managed Health Care.