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Health Aff (Millwood). 2003 Jan-Feb;22(1):165-72.

What drove private health insurance spending on mental health and substance abuse care, 1992-1999?

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  • 1Research and Pharmaceutical Division, Medstat, Washington, DC, USA.


Trends in MH/SA treatment spending from 1992 to 1999 were examined using employer claims data from approximately 1.7 million covered lives in each year. The analysis finds that employer-based private insurance spending on MH/SA treatment did not keep pace with total employer-based private insurance spending or general price inflation. MH/SA spending dropped from 7.2 percent of total private insurance spending in 1992 to 5.1 percent in 1999. The decline was attributable to a dramatic decrease in inpatient MH/SA treatment--specifically, the probability of admissions and average length-of-stay.

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