To estimate the general medical costs of individuals who received behavioral health care, the authors analyzed a large commercial New England insurer's 2002 claims for approximately 450,000 individuals. CPT and ICD-9 codes, place of service, provider specialty, and psychotropic medication claims were used to differentiate individuals who received specialty and nonspecialty behavioral health care. Their findings provide further empirical support for the substantial general medical costs of individuals who receive behavioral health care. In older age cohorts, general medical costs for individuals who received nonspecialty behavioral health care exceeded the general medical costs of those who received specialty behavioral health care; among adolescents and young adults, the converse is true.
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