Kaiser, Don't Deny

Patients need access to consistent, reliable mental health services

New Law & Rights

This page is also available in:   Español  

THE PROBLEM

For too long, a loophole in California law required HMOs and health insurers to provide initial mental health assessments within two weeks, but didn’t require them to also provide return therapy appointments within 10 business days.

As a result, many Californians, including members of Kaiser Permanente, have been forced to wait months to see their therapist.

THE SOLUTION

Starting July 1, 2022, a new law, SB 221, goes into effect requiring that HMOs and health insurers provide follow-up mental health and substance use disorder therapy appointments within 10 business days — unless the treating therapist determines that a longer wait would not be detrimental.

THE FACTS

  • What is SB 221?

    Sponsored by the National Union of Healthcare Workers and authored by State Sen. Scott Wiener, SB 221 is a landmark mental health law that guarantees Californians the right to timely mental health and substance use disorder therapy sessions.

  • When does the bill go into effect?

    SB 221 goes into effect on July 1, 2002. It was signed into law in 2021 after passing the legislature with nearly unanimous bi-partisan support.

  • What does the bill do?

    The bill requires HMOs and health insurance companies to provide mental health and substance use disorder therapy sessions within two weeks of a prior appointment, as long as the treating therapist determines that a longer wait would not be detrimental.

  • What if your insurer or HMO is unable to provide an appointment within two weeks?

    If unable to provide an in-network therapy session, an HMO or health insurer must arrange coverage outside the plan’s contracted network.

File A Complaint

Has Kaiser Permanente delayed or denied your mental health care?
Have you or a loved one been forced to endure long waits for appointments?

Share Your Story