Special Issue: Measuring and Analyzing Health Care Disparities
The Impact of Insurance Coverage in Diminishing Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Behavioral Health Services
Article first published online: 30 MAR 2012
© Health Research and Educational Trust
Health Services Research
Volume 47, Issue 3pt2, pages 1322–1344, June 2012
How to Cite
Alegria, M., Lin, J., Chen, C.-N., Duan, N., Cook, B. and Meng, X.-L. (2012), The Impact of Insurance Coverage in Diminishing Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Behavioral Health Services. Health Services Research, 47: 1322–1344. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-6773.2012.01403.x
- Issue published online: 8 MAY 2012
- Article first published online: 30 MAR 2012
- expanding insurance;
- behavioral health;
To estimate whether racial/ethnic behavioral health service disparities are likely to be reduced through insurance expansion coverage expected through the Affordable Health Care Act.
Pooled data from the nationally representative NIMH Collaborative Psychiatric Epidemiological Studies (2001–2003).
We employ a novel reweighting method to estimate service disparities in the presence and absence of insurance coverage.
Access to care was assessed by whether any behavioral health treatment was received in the past year. Need was determined by presence of prior year psychiatric disorder, psychiatric diagnoses, physical comorbidities, gender, and age.
Improving patient education and availability of community clinics, combined with insurance coverage reduces service disparities across racial/ethnic groups.However, even with expanded insurance coverage, approximately 10 percent fewer African Americans with need for behavioral health services are likely to receive services compared to non-Latino whites while Latinos show no measurable disparity.
Expansion of insurance coverage might have different effects for racial/ethnic groups, requiring additional interventions to reduce disparities for all groups.