Harvard Mental Health Letter

In Brief: Medicaid analysis reveals trends in depression care

An analysis of Florida health insurance data revealed trends in the delivery of depression care. Overall spending increased mainly because of a marked rise in spending on drugs, especially — in a surprise — because of spending on antipsychotics.

Harvard University researchers examined health insurance claims data for 56,805 people enrolled in Medicaid, a government program that covers low-income and disabled Americans. All participants were ages 18 to 64 and had received care for depression between July 1, 1996, and June 30, 2006. The cohort included people who were hospitalized for depression at least once, or received outpatient care at least twice, during the study period.

After adjusting for inflation, the researchers found that overall spending on depression care during the study period increased nearly 30%, from an average of $2,802 to $3,610 per Medicaid enrollee. Most of this care was delivered in an outpatient setting. During the study period, rates of hospitalization decreased from 9% to 5%.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »