Access to Children's Mental Health Services under Medicaid and SCHIP

Brief

Access to Children's Mental Health Services under Medicaid and SCHIP

August 31, 2004

Abstract

At least 10 percent of low-income American children have emotional and behavioral problems. States have adopted widely different ways of financing and delivering children's mental health services. This brief provides new information on SCHIP coverage of mental health services, and on the prevalence of mental health problems among children by income and health insurance coverage. Since Medicaid and SCHIP cover most low-income children and provide relatively generous coverage of mental health compared with private insurance, they provide important access to child mental health services. Medicaid and SCHIP agencies could better assess and coordinate mental health services for low-income children.

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