Equity in Managed Care for Mental Disorders

Published in: Health Affairs, v. 18, no. 5, Sep./Oct. 1999, p. 22-31

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 1999

by M. Audrey Burnam, Jose J. Escarce

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Equity of mental health relative to general medical care is a long-standing policy issue in the mental health field, which in recent years has been debated as an issue of parity in insurance benefits. The shift towards managed mental health care makes the parity debate less controversial, because feared cost increases are an unlikely consequence under managed care. The authors argue, however, that managed care also makes benefit parity less relevant to the goals of achieving fairness in the delivery of mental health services. A broader policy perspective is required to encompass concerns about fairness under managed care.

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