Health Insurance Resource Center

Health Insurance Basics

  • How Insurance Works: This guide from Mental Health America goes through the basics of health insurance and defines commonly used terms (like copay, deductible, and premium). Informational brochures are available in Amharic, Arabic, Chinese, French, Spanish, and Vietnamese in addition to English.
  • Medicare Beginner’s Guide: This guide from the SHINE Program outlines the basics of the Medicare program and your options for selecting and enrolling in a plan
  • Insurance Shopping and Resource Guides: These guides from the Massachusetts Health Connector discuss how to shop for health insurance on the Health Connector and can help you compare the plans that are available to you

Accessing Behavioral Health Services

To better understand the mental health and substance use benefits covered by your health plan, it is best to visit your health insurance carrier’s website or contact the customer service number on your health insurance card.

The INTERFACE Referral Service has a guide for families and individuals seeking mental health services that can help you understand various aspects of mental health insurance coverage. It offers ideas about how to get started, questions to ask an insurance company when you call, and a glossary of insurance terms.

If you are looking for behavioral health services for your child and are unsure what your insurance plan covers, the experts at the Autism Insurance Resource Center (AIRC) can help (even if your child doesn’t have autism). Many Massachusetts private health insurance plans cover certain behavioral health services for children and adolescents like intensive care coordination and in-home therapy. Staff at the AIRC can answer questions about insurance coverage, advise on how to access treatment, and advise on how to get help with making payments. Call 774-455-4056 or visit AIRC’s website for free assistance.

Groups to Contact for Assistance

  • Health Care for All: The Health Care For All Helpline offers free multi-lingual statewide assistance with enrolling in health insurance coverage. Call (800) 272-4232 or visit their website to learn more.
  • Navigators and Certified Application Counselors (CACs) are trained individuals that can help you apply for coverage, shop for plans, answer your questions about your eligibility, and payments. Help from an Enrollment Assister is free. Visit their website or call 1-800-841-2900 (TTY: 1-800-497-4648) to learn more.
  • Serving the Health Insurance Needs of Everyone (SHINE) offers free health insurance information and counseling to all MA residents with Medicare or who are about to become eligible for Medicare. To schedule an appointment, call MassOptions at 1-800-243-4636, or TTY/ASCll (800) 439-2370.