The Relationship Between Medicaid Expansion and The Utilization of Behavioral Health Care Services By Severely Mentally Ill Patients in Arizona
The full implementation of the Affordable Care Act in Arizona significantly impacted the severely mentall ill who are Medicaid dependent.
In the American state of Arizona, medical and behavioral health care services for the economically disadvantaged were expanded in January 2014 to be in compliance with the “Affordable Care Act” (as known as “Obamacare”), a federal law. This expansion increased Medicaid financial eligibility to 133% of the Federal Poverty Level. This paper examined the effect that this expansion had on program eligibility and Severe Mental Illness (SMI) service. It was found that by April 2015 the eligibility expansion resulted in more than 270,507 newly enrolled SMI adults (a 52% increase in 16 months). By the end of the study period, a mean of 2,641 SMI patients received one or more professional behavioral health care encounters per month. There was significant upward trending for eligibility and service encounters while the penetration ratio declined, possibly indicating a service ability saturation point. Individual patients were not tracked. Additionally, it compared growth trends predicted by a 2013 Executive Budget Report to the Office of Governor.
Additional content will be provided upon request.