High Out-of-Pocket Costs for Treatment.


Americans are using more out-of-network care and paying more out of pocket for behavioral health care than for treatment of other conditions, despite efforts to increase coverage and access to mental health services, according to research at Ohio State University, Columbus.

The study highlights access barriers to behavioral health providers that lead to high costs for patients, even for those who have private insurance, says lead author Wendy Yi Xu, assistant professor of health services management and policy.

Xu and her colleagues examined claims from 3,200,000 adults with mental health conditions, more than 321,500 with drug use disorders and over 294,500 with alcohol use disorders. They compared those with claims from people with one of two common chronic conditions--diabetes and congestive heart failure.

Individuals with drug-use disorders were almost 13 percentage points more likely to have out-of-network hospitalizations and more than 15 percentage points more likely to experience out-of-network outpatient care than those with congestive heart failure.

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