Raising Patient Co-Pays To Save Money On Mental Healthcare May End Up Adding To Costs Of Treating Bipolar And Psychiatric Disorders

Reuters (7/19, Emery) reports, “An effort by the Netherlands to save money on mental health care by raising patient co-pays produced $15 million in short-term savings, but ended up adding $29 million to the costs of treating bipolar and psychotic disorders,” researchers found. What’s more, “the increase in patient cost-sharing led to fewer people seeking regular mental treatment and a simultaneous rise in acute care and involuntary commitments,” the analysis of “1.4 million treatment records” revealed. The findings were published online July 19 in JAMA Psychiatry.

The Philadelphia Inquirer (7/19, Sapatkin) reports on the Netherlands’ 2012 attempt to reduce healthcare costs by implementing “mandatory copayments for mental health care on adults but not children,” reasoning that patients would not “seek unnecessary services” if they had more “skin in the game.” The article says the change caused “adults’ use of regular mental health services” to plummet “13.4 percent for both severe and mild disorders,” with an even starker drop among the poor, but “no appreciable change” for children, “who had no copay.”

Healio (7/19, Oldt) reports the author of an invited commentary wrote, “Without careful planning and oversight, mental health care cost-sharing programs may exact a steep price.”

Related Links:

— “Mental health coverage cuts result in extra costs,” Gene Emery, Reuters, July 19, 2017.

Posted in In The News.