To estimate whether racial/ethnic behavioral health service disparities are likely to be reduced through insurance expansion coverage expected through the Affordable Health Care Act.
Pooled data from the nationally representative Collaborative Psychiatric Epidemiological Studies (2001–2003).
We employ a novel reweighting method to estimate service disparities in the presence and absence of insurance coverage.
Access to care was assessed by whether any behavioral health treatment was received in the past year. Need was determined by presence of prior year psychiatric disorder, psychiatric diagnoses, physical comorbidities, gender, and age.
Improving patient education and availability of community clinics, combined with insurance coverage reduces service disparities across racial/ethnic groups.However, even with expanded insurance coverage, approximately 10 percent fewer frican mericans with need for behavioral health services are likely to receive services compared to non‐atino whites while atinos show no measurable disparity.
Expansion of insurance coverage might have different effects for racial/ethnic groups, requiring additional interventions to reduce disparities for all groups.