This project analyzes the impact of state and federal parity laws designed to address the disparity between mental and physical health benefits in commercial insurance on mental health outcomes.

The project will address: What is the impact of the implementation of parity laws on mental health care utilization, costs, and quality, or on morbidity? and Do patient-level variables, including age, gender, and socioeconomic status, modify the degree of response to parity legislation? The team will use an interrupted time series design and segmented regression to compare outcomes before and after parity legislation and in jurisdictions that implemented parity laws vs. those that did not. They will also measure any additional incremental effects of the recent federal Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (implemented in 2010) over precursor state laws. Among patients with depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia, outcomes assessed will include: out of pocket costs, mental health outpatient visits, emergency department visits and hospitalizations, adherence to treatment regimens, and possibly mortality.