Impacts of the Dependent Care Expansion on the Allocation of Mental Health Care
We examine the impact of insurance expansion under the Affordable Care Act’s Dependent Care Expansion (DCE) on allocation of mental health care across illness severity, types of care and racial/ethnic groups. Evidence suggests that the increase in mental health care utilization resulting from the DCE was restricted to individuals with clinically significant mental health conditions. There is no evidence suggesting that the increase occurred disproportionately in medication-only treatment or that it increased racial/ethnic disparities. The DCE appears to have been successful in increasing utilization of mental health care among a high need group without lowering quality or increasing disparities.
KeywordsHealth insurance Mental health service use Racial/ethnic disparities
This research was supported by a Grant from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (R01 MD010274).
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors have no conflict of interest to report.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Study procedures were approved by the Human Subjects Protection Committee of the RAND Corporation.
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