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Mental health parity reduces out of pocket expenses for patients

Belmont, MA—In a study examining the impact of a parity policy for mental health insurance benefits, researchers have concluded that parity had a different impact on spending and service utilization for enrollees with illnesses that are more severe and chronic. As a result of the parity policy, individuals seeking treatment for major depression or bipolar disorder had lower out-of-pocket spending, despite no significant difference in the amount of behavioral health services they used. However, individuals with adjustment disorder (a less severe, acute illness) had lower spending, in part because they also received fewer psychotherapy services after the parity policy was implemented.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-02/mh-mhp012913.php

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