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Invited Commentary
September 2017

Cost Sharing and Mental Health Care: A Cautionary Tale From the Netherlands

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Health Policy and Management, Emory University, Rollins School of Public Health, Atlanta, Georgia
JAMA Psychiatry. 2017;74(9):940-941. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2017.1837

Since health insurance first began covering mental health services in the mid-20th century, there have been debates about how best to balance comprehensiveness and affordability of mental health care benefits. In the United States, concerns about potential overuse initially led insurers to impose higher restrictions for mental health care than for other types of health care benefits. Over time, advocacy coupled with research demonstrating that these restrictions could be lifted without significant cost increases helped pave the way for broader mental health care coverage.1 During the past decade, federal legislation has placed mental health within the mainstream of health insurance, establishing it as an essential health benefit and ensuring that it covers a range of services comparable to those for other types of medical and surgical care.2

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