News & Updates

New Opportunities Identified to Bolster Behavioral Health Services in Medicaid

April 5, 2019

New Opportunities Identified to Bolster Behavioral Health Services in Medicaid

New report on behavioral health uses comprehensive survey data to address shifting needs and priorities in Medicaid


Washington, DC, April 5, 2019 – The Institute for Medicaid Innovation (IMI), the non-profit Medicaid research group, highlights how Medicaid managed care organizations address the prevalence and spectrum of behavioral health needs in the new report “Behavioral Health Coverage in Medicaid Managed Care.” Using data collected from IMI’s 2018 annual Medicaid managed care survey, the report shows the trends of behavioral health care access and coverage over time, as well as underscores priorities for stakeholders to better address the needs in the future.

Presently, a disproportionate percentage of individuals with behavioral health disorders are enrolled in the Medicaid programs compared to other payer types. Behavioral health continues to be a major focus of the Medicaid program, with many Medicaid health plans providing behavioral health coverage as part of their comprehensive benefits package. This report illustrates the various ways states approach behavioral health service models and how they are financed. 

“As states begin to explore opportunities to support the integration of physical and behavioral health, this report highlights findings from our annual Medicaid MCO survey and provides a comprehensive review of the variation by state that exists across the U.S.,” said Jennifer E. Moore, PhD, RN, executive director of the IMI. “While we have found that challenges persist, the report offers clinical, research, and policy opportunities to help inform the nation’s efforts.  We appreciate the opportunity that funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has afforded us to take a deeper look at this important topic.”

Such opportunities include a focus on the disparities in behavioral health, including addressing the shortage of behavioral health workers in underserved areas and improving efforts to support reimbursement for collaborative care models. Through this report, the Institute for Medicaid Innovation intends to equip Medicaid stakeholders with the information needed to accurately articulate the national narrative about behavioral health in Medicaid.

Read the full report here, and read the report’s fact sheet here.


About the Institute for Medicaid Innovation

The Institute for Medicaid Innovation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit research organization that provides independent, nonpartisan information and analysis that informs Medicaid policy and improves the health of the nation.


Media contact:

Lydia Tonkonow