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THE IMPACT OF MENTAL HEALTH INSURANCE LAWS ON STATE SUICIDE RATES

Authors


  • This article was published online on December 19, 2011. Errors were subsequently identified. This notice is included in the online and print versions to indicate that both have been corrected October 23, 2012.

Department of Economics, Xavier University, 3800 Victory Parkway, Cincinnati, OH, 45207, USA. E-mail: langm1@xavier.edu

SUMMARY

In the 1990s and early 2000s, a number of states passed laws requiring mental health benefits to be included in health insurance coverage. The variation in the characteristics and enactment date of the laws provides an opportunity to measure the impact of increasing access to mental health care on mental health outcomes, as evidenced by state suicide rates. In contrast with previous research, results show that when states enact laws requiring insurance coverage to include mental health benefits at parity with physical health benefits, the suicide rate decreases significantly by 5%. The findings are robust to a number of specifications and falsification tests. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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