Health Insurance May Be Improving, But Not For Individuals With Mental Illness

by Roland Sturm, Kenneth B. Wells

Download Free Electronic Document

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 0.6 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.

Objective: To explore the question of how insurance coverage has changed among individuals with mental problems compared to the general population in the last two years. Data Sources: HealthCare for Communities, a national survey to track health system changes. Principal Findings: The percentage of uninsured persons in the general population has not changed very much, and more respondents believe that health insurance coverage has improved rather than deteriorated over the years 1996 to 1998. However, among individuals with probable mental health disorders, more have lost insurance in those two years than have gained it and more report decreases in health benefits. Individuals with worse mental health consistently report a deterioration of access to care compared to individuals with better mental health. Conclusions: Substantial activity has taken place in state and federal legislation to increase the mental health benefits offered by health insurance. Although this activity could have improved health insurance especially for individuals with mental illness, such persons continue to fare significantly worse than the general population.

Originally published in: Health Services Research, v. 35, no. 1, Part II, 2000, pp. 253-262.

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.

Permission is given to duplicate this electronic document for personal use only, as long as it is unaltered and complete. Copies may not be duplicated for commercial purposes. Unauthorized posting of RAND PDFs to a non-RAND Web site is prohibited. RAND PDFs are protected under copyright law. For information on reprint and linking permissions, please visit the RAND Permissions page.

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.