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