Mental health plans are affordable

January 1, 1998

Pharmaceutical Representative

Even the least generous health plans can afford unlimited mental health care coverage, according to a new study funded and released by the National Institute of Mental Health.

Even the least generous health plans can afford unlimited mental health care coverage, according to a new study funded and released by the National Institute of Mental Health.

The study examined 1995 and 1996 claims data from 24 managed care health care plans that provide mental health care through an independent vendor or subsidiary. Even those with the least generous coverage - 30 days of inpatient care and 20 outpatient sessions - incurred an increase of only $7 per enrollee per year in plans with minimal copayments and no deductibles.

That amount is less than half of one percent of the annual cost per enrollee of an average managed care plan. The average managed care health plan spends approximately $1,500 to $2,000 per enrollee.

According to the Mental Health Parity Act, which went into effect Jan. 1, 1998, employers who offer mental health benefits must provide dollar limits equal to those for other medical benefits unless they can prove that their health care costs would increase by 1% or more.

A full report of the study was published in the Nov. 12 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. PR

Related Content:

News