Medi-Cal and Behavioral Health Services

Health Management Associates


Medi-Cal is the primary source of health insurance for more than 13 million people in California — a third of the state’s population. The program provides health coverage for children living in families with low incomes and their parents, pregnant women, seniors, and nonelderly adults, including people with disabilities. For seniors with low incomes, Medi-Cal also covers services not paid for by Medicare, including nursing home care.

The Medi-Cal program pays for a significant portion of mental health treatment in California. One of the goals of the program is to promote better access to services for beneficiaries through the integration of behavioral and physical health.

This fact sheet provides a high-level overview of how mental and behavioral health issues are managed in the Medi-Cal program, including:

  • Health benefits covered
  • Delivery system (managed care plans, fee-for-service, and county mental health plan inpatient and outpatient services)
  • County operation of Drug Medi-Cal and the Drug Medi-Cal Organized Delivery System
  • New initiatives to better coordinate care (Whole Person Care pilots, Health Homes)

This fact sheet is part of the Medi-Cal Explained series.