The Anthem Public Policy Institute (Anthem PPI) recently released a series of whitepapers addressing the integration of mental health and substance use disorder benefits into Medicaid Managed Care Organizations (MCOs). These whitepapers address the challenges and opportunities of benefits integration for individuals with mental health conditions and/or substance use disorders (MH/SUD):

Traditionally, physical health, mental health and substance use disorders have been treated and paid for separately. However, it has been shown that in the case of Medicaid beneficiaries with MH/SUD, outcomes are greatly improved with integrated care.

According to the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission, in the United States, one in five Medicaid beneficiaries is living with a mental health condition and/or substance use disorder. Of these, 60 percent have co-occurring chronic health conditions. These individuals experience lower quality care and poorer health outcomes which result in higher healthcare costs.

This whitepaper series suggests that integrated treatment of mental health, substance use disorders, and physical health can dramatically improve the overall wellness of individuals and significantly decrease costs. Evidence for this can be found in academic work and in the success of this type of integration in a number of MCOs across the country.

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