NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Public Insurance and Psychotropic Prescription Medications for Mental Illness

Johanna Catherine Maclean, Benjamin L. Cook, Nicholas Carson, Michael F. Pesko

NBER Working Paper No. 23760
Issued in August 2017
NBER Program(s):   AG   HC   HE

Mental illnesses are prevalent in the United States and globally, and cost is a critical barrier to treatment receipt for many afflicted individuals. Affordable insurance coverage can permit access to effective healthcare services and treatment of mental illnesses. We study the effects of recent and major eligibility expansions within Medicaid, a pubic insurance system in the U.S. that finances healthcare services for the poor, on psychotropic medications prescribed in outpatient settings. To this end, we estimate differences-in-differences models using administrative data on medications prescribed in outpatient settings for which Medicaid was a third-party payer between 2011 and 2016. Our findings suggest that these expansions increased psychotropic prescriptions by 22% with substantial heterogeneity across psychotropic class and state characteristics that proxy for patient need, expansion scope, and system capacity. We provide further evidence that Medicaid, and not patients, primarily financed these prescriptions. These findings suggest that public insurance expansions have the potential to improve access to evidence-based treatments among low-income populations suffering from mental illnesses.

You may purchase this paper on-line in .pdf format from SSRN.com ($5) for electronic delivery.

Access to NBER Papers

You are eligible for a free download if you are a subscriber, a corporate associate of the NBER, a journalist, an employee of the U.S. federal government with a ".GOV" domain name, or a resident of nearly any developing country or transition economy.

If you usually get free papers at work/university but do not at home, you can either connect to your work VPN or proxy (if any) or elect to have a link to the paper emailed to your work email address below. The email address must be connected to a subscribing college, university, or other subscribing institution. Gmail and other free email addresses will not have access.

E-mail:

The NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health provides summaries of publications like this.  You can sign up to receive the NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health by email.

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w23760

 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Themes
Data
People
About

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us