Uses data from the enormous UCLA/RAND managed care database to estimate costs, access, and intensity of mental health care under managed care carve-out plans with generous coverage; and simulate the consequences of removing coverage limits for mental health care as required by the 1996 Mental Health Parity Act. It shows that the assumptions used in 1996's policy debates overstated actual managed care costs by more than 300%. In the plans studied, despite increases in access (percentage of enrollees getting some care in a year), costs are much lower than were assumed, because of lower hospitalization rates and lower payments per service. Removing an annual limit of $25,000 would increase payments by only $1 per year, with children being the main beneficiaries of expanded benefits.
Originally published in: Journal of the American Medical Association, v. 278, no. 18, November 12, 1997, pp. 1533-1537.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation Reprint series. The Reprint was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1992 to 2011 that represented previously published journal articles, book chapters, and reports with the permission of the publisher. RAND reprints were formally reviewed in accordance with the publisher's editorial policy and compliant with RAND's rigorous quality assurance standards for quality and objectivity. For select current RAND journal articles, see External Publications.
This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit www.rand.org/pubs/permissions.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.