Article

State Variations In The Out-Of-Pocket Spending Burden For Outpatient Mental Health Treatment

Center for Financing, Access, and Cost Trends, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, in Rockville, Maryland, USA.
Health Affairs (Impact Factor: 4.64). 05/2009; 28(3):713-22. DOI: 10.1377/hlthaff.28.3.713
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT We examine the potential of mental health/substance abuse (MH/SA) parity laws to reduce the out-of-pocket spending burden for outpatient treatment at the state level by exploring cross-state variations and their causes, as well as the provisions of MH/SA parity laws. We find modest (yet important) variation in out-of-pocket burden across states overall, but-because prescription medications account for two-thirds of out-of-pocket spending and are generally beyond the scope of recently enacted federal parity laws-evidence suggests that those laws will do little to reduce the observed burden or its variation. Other policy measures, designed to expand and improve health insurance coverage or reduce racial/ethnic disparities, could have a more profound impact.

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