RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC— A new study from RTI International, a nonprofit research institute, found significant declines in the rates of uninsured individuals with mental health and substance use disorders after the national expansion of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2014. The study was published today in the journal Psychiatric Services.
The study found the uninsured rates for individuals with substance use disorders was 24 percent in each year between 2007 and 2013. This rate fell to 13 percent in 2016, a 45 percent decline (from 4.8 million to 2.6 million individuals). Similarly, the rate of uninsured individuals with a mental health disorder fell from 21 percent in 2013 to 12 percent in 2016 (from 5.3 million to 3.2 million individuals).
“The study shows a dramatic increase in insurance coverage among people with mental health and substance use disorders following the ACA expansion,” says Tami Mark, PhD, the lead author of this study and senior director of Behavioral Health Financing at RTI. “As the fate of the ACA continues to remain uncertain, it’s important to have clear data that points to the ACA’s effect on people with behavioral health disorders, so we can continue to meet their needs for access to care.”