Attitudes About Required Coverage of Mental Health Care in a US National Sample

Objective: Recent policy initiatives such as the Affordable Care Act and Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act have expanded coverage of mental health services. However, to what extent the public supports mandated insurance coverage of mental health care relative to other specific medical services is unclear. Methods: This report presents results of a cross-sectional, national poll of the U.S. adult population. Respondents (N = 2,124) were asked whether health plans should be required to provide coverage for mental health care and other types of medical services. Logistic regression was used to assess the association of respondent characteristics with support for coverage. Results: Seventy-eight percent (95% confidence interval = 75% 2 81%) of respondents supported mandated coverage of mental health care. This result was higher than support for birth control medications, equivalent to support for oral or dental care, and lower than support for all other medical services. Conclusions: True parity for mental health care may be limited if public support lags behind that for other medical services.