Assessing the Costs and Benefits of Insuring Psychological Services as Part of Medicare for Depression in Canada.

TitleAssessing the Costs and Benefits of Insuring Psychological Services as Part of Medicare for Depression in Canada.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsVasiliadis HM, Dezetter A, Latimer E, Drapeau M, Lesage A
JournalPsychiatr Serv
Date Published2017 May 15

OBJECTIVE: The study estimated costs and effects associated with increasing access to publicly funded psychological services for depression in a public health care system.METHODS: Discrete event simulation modeled clinical events (relapse, recovery, hospitalizations, suicide attempts, and suicide), health service use, and cost outcomes over 40 years in a population with incident depression. Parameters included epidemiologic and economic data from the literature and data from a secondary analysis of the 2012 Canadian Community Health Survey on mental health. Societal costs were measured with the human capital approach. Analyses estimated the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio associated with improved access to psychological services among individuals not receiving adequate mental health care and reporting an unmet need for such care compared with present use of health services for mental health reasons.RESULTS: Over 40 years, increased access to mental health services in a simulated population of adults with incident depression would lead to significantly lower lifetime prevalence of hospitalizations (27.9% versus 30.2% base case) and suicide attempts (14.1% versus 14.6%); fewer suicides (184 versus 250); a per-person gain of .17 quality-adjusted life years; and average societal cost savings of $2,590 CAD per person (range $1,266-$6,320). Publicly funding psychological services would translate to additional costs of $123,212,872 CAD ($67,709,860-$190,922,732) over 40 years. Savings to society would reach, on average, $246,997,940 CAD ($120,733,356-$602,713,120).CONCLUSIONS: In Canada, every $1 invested in covering psychological services would yield $2.00 ($1.78 to $3.15) in savings to society. Covering psychological services as part of Medicare for individuals with an unmet need for mental health care would pay for itself.

Alternate JournalPsychiatr Serv
PubMed ID28502247