The Effects of Preferred Provider Options in Fee-for-Service Plans on Use of Outpatient Mental Health Services by Three Employee Groups

Published In: Medical Care, v. 30, no. 5, May 1992, p. 412-427

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 1991

by Kenneth B. Wells, Susan D. Hosek, M. Susan Marquis

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Demonstrates how use of mental health services varies for three employee groups depending on whether or not they were offered enrollment in a preferred provider organization. It found that, despite lower cost sharing for services received at PPOs, the PPO option appeared to lower outpatient mental health care costs while having no more than a transient effect on access. Presumably, this effect was achieved by utilization review and selection of providers who were more efficient. If we are to understand the role of managed care on both the use and outcome of patients with mental illness, more work in this area is needed.

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