The effects of a prepaid group practice on mental health outcomes.
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Does a prepaid group practice relative to comparable fee-for-service plans lead to different mental health outcomes for its beneficiaries? To answer this question, we used data from the RAND Health Insurance Experiment. We observed no statistically significant or clinically meaningful differences in mental health outcomes for families randomly assigned to Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound or to comparable fee-for-service insurance plans in the Seattle area. We found the same null result for overall mental health status as well as for psychological distress (e.g., anxiety and depression) and psychological well-being, and for the full population as well as the initially sick and poor, although our precision was low for the latter comparisons. Thus, the less intensive style of treatment in the prepaid group practice was not associated with noticeably worse mental health outcomes.