FRIDAY, July 26, 2019 (HealthDay News) — For patients with mental health (MH) disorders, disenrollment in Medicaid is associated with a reduction in the likelihood of receiving any outpatient service and any MH-related outpatient service, according to a study published in the August issue of Medical Care.

Xu Ji, Ph.D., from Emory University in Atlanta, and colleagues estimated changes in all-cause and MH-related health care use after Medicaid disenrollment in a cohort of 8,841 persons ages 18 to 64 years with MH disorders.

The researchers found that becoming uninsured after Medicaid disenrollment correlated with average reductions of 52, 35, and 52 percent in the likelihood of receiving any outpatient service, any MH-related outpatient service, and any acute service in a month. The largest decline in health care use was seen in the month immediately after disenrollment, and the decreases continued over the next half year while unemployed.

“Our analysis raises important considerations about the implications of Medicaid disenrollment for low-income beneficiaries,” the authors write. “As states consider the future of their Medicaid programs, it will be crucial to implement strategies to mitigate Medicaid disenrollment and ensure adequate receipt of MH outpatient services for those in need of services.”

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