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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Half a Million Uninsured California Adults with Mental Health Needs Are Eligible for Health Coverage Expansions

  • Author(s): Padilla-Frausto, D. Imelda
  • Grant, David
  • Lavarreda, Shana Alex
  • Adin, May
  • et al.

Half a million uninsured adults in California who need mental health treatment could gain access to those services through health care reform, according to this Center study. 

In addition to providing new or improved health insurance coverage to as many as 4.6 million Californians, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 will also implement the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, the publication notes. 

Mental health services will be part of the essential benefits package, which is a set of health care services that must be covered by certain plans. These include insurance policies that will be offered through Medi-Cal and the California Health Benefit Exchange. 

An estimated 1.6 million California adults reported symptoms that were consistent with severe psychological distress and experienced difficulty with their day-to-day functioning, according to the Center's 2009 California Health Interview Survey. About a third of those adults — or half a million — were uninsured all or part of the year. 

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