This brief report explores the impact of health reform for people with mental illness.
The Health Reform Monitoring Survey was used to examine health insurance, access to care, and employment for 1,550 people with mental health conditions pre- and postimplementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and by state Medicaid expansion status. Multivariate logistic regressions with predictive margins were used.
Post-ACA reforms, people with mental health conditions were less likely to be uninsured (5% versus 13%; t=−6.89, df=50, p<.001) and to report unmet need due to cost of mental health care (17% versus 21%; t=−3.16, df=50, p=.002) and any health services (46% versus 51%; t=−3.71, df=50, p<.001), and they were more likely to report a usual source of care (82% versus 76%; t=3.11, df=50, p=.002). These effects were experienced in both Medicaid expansion and nonexpansion states.
Findings underscore the importance of ACA improvements in the quality of health insurance coverage.