Psychiatric Patients Benefit from ACA Provisions

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Americans that are likely to be eligible for Medicaid under the expansion of the program because of provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) are also more likely to have mood and anxiety disorders than those who are not eligible.

Jack Tsai, PhD, of the Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, and colleagues, examined data on more than 34,000 adults from the 2004–2005 Wave 2 of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC). Psychiatric diagnoses were determined with the Alcohol Use Disorder and Associated Disabilities Interview Schedule-IV.

Among those uninsured at the time of the survey, those who are Medicaid-eligible under the ACA expansion had a significantly higher prevalence of mood and anxiety disorders than those not likely eligible (odds ratios = 1.26–1.41), the researchers reported the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.   

Also, among those insured, those likely to be Medicare-eligible had a higher prevalence of mood, anxiety, substance use, and personality disorders than those not eligible (odds ratios = 1.78–2.41).

“Given the high prevalence for various psychiatric disorders among those uninsured, state plans to expand Medicaid and create health insurance exchanges have potential to offer coverage to many adults with mental health needs, and states should carefully plan for comprehensive services,” the researchers concluded.

Open enrollment in health care exchanges, the cornerstone of the ACA, began a year ago today.

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Psychiatric Patients Benefit from ACA Provisions
This study examined different groups of the U.S. population who may be affected by the expansion of Medicaid and creation of health insurance exchanges under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Data were based on structured interviews with a nationally representative sample of 34,587 adults from the 2004–2005 Wave 2 of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC). Psychiatric diagnoses were assessed with the Alcohol Use Disorder and Associated Disabilities Interview Schedule-IV.

Those included in the survey who would be eligible for Medicaid under the expansion were found to be more likely to have mood and anxiety disorders compared to those who would not be.

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