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Spending drops on behavioral health benefits, but the decline in share of total coverage halts

For the first time in 10 years, the drop in behavioral health coverage, as a percentage of total employer-sponsored health benefits, has leveled off. But the amount of money the typical employer spends on behavioral health benefits continues to decline.

For outpatient care, fewer plans are imposing per-visit dollar limits, but more are placing limits on the number of visits permitted per year. This shift does not come as a surprise to benefits consultants, who agree that to comply with the Mental Health Parity Act and yet still maintain some control over utilization, many employers have simply translated dollar caps into visit limits.

SOURCE: NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF PSYCHIATRIC HEALTH SYSTEMS/ASSOCIATION OF BEHAVIORAL GROUP PRACTICES, WASHINGTON, 1999

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