Cost-Sharing Requirements and Access to Mental Health Care Among Medicare Enrollees With Schizophrenia

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ObjectiveThis study explored the association between Medicare cost-sharing requirements and the probability of use of various mental health outpatient services among Medicare enrollees with schizophrenia.MethodsMultivariate logistic regression was used to estimate the probability of use of each of seven types of services over six months. Patients were recruited from public and private mental health treatment provider organizations in six states. The analyses included 1,088 Medicare enrollees, of whom approximately 55 percent were also enrolled in Medicaid.ResultsMedicare-only patients (with greater cost-sharing) were 25 to 45 percent less likely to have used rehabilitation services, individual therapy with nonpsychiatrist mental health providers, and case management. No association was found between Medicaid enrollment and probability of service use for medical clinic visits, group therapy, individual contact with a psychiatrist, or receipt of second-generation antipsychotics.ConclusionsAmong Medicare enrollees with schizophrenia, gaps in Medicare coverage may be more problematic for rehabilitation, case management, and contact with nonpsychiatrist providers. Local public and private subsidies for mental health treatment may compensate for some of the gaps in coverage. However, such subsidies are not universally or uniformly provided.

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