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For Immediate Release

Spending On Mental And Substance Use Disorders Projected To Grow More Slowly Than All Health Spending Through 2020

Ann Arbor, MI, Aug. 05, 2014 — Spending on mental and substance use disorders will likely grow at a slower pace than all health spending through 2020. A new study by Truven Health Analytics projects that spending on mental and substance use disorders, as a share of all health spending, will fall from 7.4 percent in 2009 ($172 billion out of $2.3 trillion) to 6.5 percent in 2020 ($281 billion out of $4.3 trillion). The study was published today in the journal Health Affairs.

The Affordable Care Act and other recent legislative effects are expected to increase insurance coverage of previously uninsured individuals by 25 million in 2020. Spending on behavioral health care is estimated to be 2.7 percent higher in 2020 than it would have been without the Affordable Care Act and other recently passed legislation.

A major factor contributing to slower growth in behavioral health treatment spending compared with spending for all health care is the anticipated patent expirations for major mental health medications. These patent expirations and subsequent entry of generic medications are expected to result in substantially lower prices. Prescription medications account for a large share of treatment spending for mental health than for all health (28 percent for mental health and 11 percent for all health in 2009) and patent expirations for mental health retail prescription drugs are expected to be more concentrated in timing than they are for all retail prescription drugs. Therefore, patent expirations likely will have a greater impact on behavioral health spending than on spending across all health categories. An additional factor contributing to relatively slow spending growth for behavioral health treatment is the slowdown in spending for mental health treatment in state-operated psychiatric hospitals as a result of the recession and slow economic recovery.

“That growth in behavioral health expenditures is projected to slow relative to overall health spending even as recent health reform and parity legislation helps to increase behavioral health coverage and access is good news for consumers and their families, ” said Tami Mark, lead author from Truven Health Analytics.

Truven Health Analytics has been producing historical estimates and projections for behavioral health treatment spending for almost two decades. The approach Truven Health Analytics used to develop its spending projections is similar to that used by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in producing all-health projections. In addition to the article published in Health Affairs, a chart book illustrating and documenting these projections, Projections of National Expenditures for Treatment of Mental and Substance Use Disorders, 2010–2020, will be available shortly on the SAMHSA website (www.samhsa.gov). As noted in the article, all spending projections are associated with some degree of uncertainty.

About Truven Health Analytics, part of the IBM Watson Health Business

Truven Health Analytics an IBM Company, delivers the answers that clients need to help them improve healthcare quality and access while reducing costs. We provide market-leading performance improvement solutions built on data integrity, advanced analytics, and domain expertise. For more than 40 years, our insights and solutions have been providing hospitals and clinicians, employers and health plans, state and federal government agencies, life sciences companies, and policymakers the facts they need to help them make confident decisions that directly affect the health and well-being of people and organizations in the U.S. and around the world.

Truven Health Analytics owns some of the most trusted brands in healthcare, such as MarketScan®, 100 Top Hospitals®, Advantage Suite®, Micromedex®, Simpler®, ActionOI® and JWA. Truven Health has its principal offices in Ann Arbor, Mich.; Chicago; and Denver. For more information, please visit http://truvenhealth.com.


Brian Erni
For Truven Health Analytics
J. Roderick, Inc. Public Relations