Michael T. Abrams, MPH, a senior research analyst at The Hilltop Institute, co-authored two articles published in the April 2014 issue of Psychiatric Services. The articles are both based on a study of low-income young adults (aged 18-26) discharged from an inpatient psychiatric event, a marker for serious mental distress.
Identifying Young Adults at Risk of Medicaid Enrollment Lapses After Inpatient Mental Health Treatment discusses a study that identified antecedents to Medicaid enrollment lapses in the year following discharge. Such lapses are undesirable because they suggest absence of medical attention that is especially indicated in the wake of an inpatient psychiatric stay.
Medicaid Lapses and Low-Income Young Adults’ Receipt of Outpatient Mental Health Care after an Inpatient Stay discusses a second study that estimated the impacts of Medicaid enrollment disruptions on access to mental health services in the same year following inpatient discharge. That study found that Medicaid disruptions correlated with reduced outpatient mental health service utilization and lower medication possession ratios. Jointly, these articles offer information to policymakers and others regarding the reasons and the potentially negative health care consequences of insurance discontinuities for young adults with substantial, albeit emerging, mental health needs. Such young adults represent an important subset of persons who should gain broader access to medical care coverage via the Affordable Care Act.