The Impact of Managed Behavioral Health Market Share, Public Sector Carve-Outs, and Parity Legislation on Service Utilization for Children and Adolescents: Results from NSAF and CTS

How do variations in the organization of mental health services across states and communities affect service utilization for children and adolescents? Roland Sturm, Ph.D., and colleagues at RAND used the NSAF and the CTS’ household surveys to study three variables in assessing the effect of mental health services organization on service utilization. They examined: 1) the market penetration of commercial carve-outs; 2) how insurance mandates for behavioral health services, especially parity legislation, affect private insurance; and 3) the organization of behavioral health services in the public sector. Looking beyond individual health and socioeconomic factors and community factors, which likely predict need for mental health services, the findings informed public and private decision makers about the effects of various policy tools in influencing behavioral health care.