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The Effects of Mental Health Parity Legislation on Mental Health Related Hospitalizations


  • Attila Cseh

    (Valdosta State University)

  • Tamas Forgacs

    (California State University Fresno)


This paper investigates the effects of state level parity legislation on mental health care utilization. Using HCUP NIS data we find that for privately insured patients parity increased the average length of hospital stays by about 3/5 and 3/4 of a day for patients with bipolar disorders and schizophrenia respectively while parity had no effect on the length of stay for patients with major depressive disorders. At the same time parity decreased charges of hospitalization by about 8.5% for bipolar disorders and by 22% for major depressive disorders. We did not find any effects on hospitalization charges for schizophrenia. Our results could be downward biased due to the potential miscategorization of patients who are not subject to parity.

Suggested Citation

  • Attila Cseh & Tamas Forgacs, 2009. "The Effects of Mental Health Parity Legislation on Mental Health Related Hospitalizations," Journal of Economic Insight (formerly the Journal of Economics (MVEA)), Missouri Valley Economic Association, vol. 35(1), pages 1-20.
  • Handle: RePEc:mve:journl:v:35:y:2009:i:1:p:1-20

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    JEL classification:

    • H75 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Government: Health, Education, and Welfare
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health


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