Mental Health Law Increases Access to Substance Abuse Treatment, But Costs Rising

“A law that makes it easier for Americans to gain access to mental health and substance abuse services is working to get patients hospital care, but rapidly rising out-of-pocket costs could deter many from treatment, new research indicates.

A new study from the nonprofit Health Care Cost Institute showed a 19.5 percent increase in hospital admissions for substance abuse treatment in 2011, which was the first year most employers began adhering to new rules finalized for the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, which was passed by Congress and signed into law in 2008 by then President George W. Bush.

For example, the average price paid by an employer and worker for a substance abuse admission in 2011 was $7,230 with the consumer’s share of out-of-pocket costs at $889, or 12 percent of the total cost.  Meanwhile, the average price paid by an employer for a “medical/surgical” admission in 2011 was three times that, or $20,103 but the co-payment was more than $100 cheaper at $796, or just four percent of the share of out-of-pocket costs.”

The Forbes article can be accessed at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/brucejapsen/2013/02/27/mental-health-law-increases-access-to-substance-abuse-treatment-but-costs-rising/

The Health Care Cost Institute report can be accessed at: http://www.healthcostinstitute.org/news-and-events/press-release-impact-mental-health-parity-and-addiction-equity-act-inpatient-admissi

Source: Forbes.com – February 27, 2013

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