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Psychiatr Serv. 2016 Apr 1;67(4):448-51. doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.201400586. Epub 2015 Dec 1.

Effects of Mental Health Parity on High Utilizers of Services: Pre-Post Evidence From a Large, Self-Insured Employer.

Author information

1
The authors are with the Department of Health Management and Policy, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where Dr. Grazier is also with the Department of Psychiatry (e-mail: kgrazier@umich.edu ).

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

This study evaluated utilization of mental health and substance use services among enrollees at a large employee health plan following changes to benefit limits after passage in 2008 of federal mental health parity legislation.

METHODS:

This study used a pre-post design. Benefits and claims data for 43,855 enrollees in the health plan in 2009 and 2010 were analyzed for utilization and costs after removal of a 30-visit cap on the number of covered mental health visits.

RESULTS:

There was a large increase in the proportion of health plan enrollees with more than 30 outpatient visits after the cap's removal, an increase of 255% among subscribers and 176% among dependents (p<.001). The number of people near the 30-visit limit for substance use disorders was too few to observe an effect.

CONCLUSIONS:

Federal mental health parity legislation is likely to increase utilization of mental health services by individuals who had previously met their benefit limit.

PMID:
26620288
DOI:
10.1176/appi.ps.201400586
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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