Skip to main content

Department of Health and Human Services Releases Report on the Benefits of Expanding Medicaid to Cover More Behavioral Health Programs, Including Its Impact on Employee Productiveness

April 29, 2016

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) released a report on how expanding Medicaid could provide more Americans with access to both health insurance and behavioral health services. According to DHHS, people who need behavioral health services make up 28 percent of all low-income uninsured people living in states that did not expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. The report notes that expanding Medicaid benefit programs improves a wide variety of economic, social, and health outcomes for this population. 

The report highlights that, if all states expanded Medicaid, an estimated 540,000 more people would report good health and an estimated 371,000 fewer people would experience depression. The report also states that, ultimately, expansion might lead to cost savings for the state. DHHS found that, given that the state spends money to cover behavioral health care costs for the uninsured, expanding Medicaid sometimes increased general health care cost savings. They also experienced improvement in the quality of behavioral health programs without incurring new costs. 

The report also notes that workers who receive some form of behavioral health treatment for their mental health or substance abuse condition are more productive. Research found that workers with substance abuse disorders who received specialized behavioral health treatment were less likely to miss work, be late for work, have a conflict with a co-worker or be less productive at any time. The overall economic benefit was nearly $8,205 annually per worker with substance abuse disorders alone. 

For further information on the CMS report, read the HHS press release.