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Matters of Fact New Hampshire

Access to Mental Health Medications in Medicaid

  • Over 36,000 of New Hampshire’s close to 1.3 million residents have a severe mental illness. (U.S. Census 2000; U.S. Center for Mental Health Services)
  • In the year 2000, the estimated number of people age 18 or older with a serious mental disorder living in New Hampshire (excluding homeless people or people in institutions) was 26,000 (SAMHSA National Mental Health Information Center)
  • In the year 2000, the estimated number of children and adolescents with a serious mental disorder in the United States was 1,866,112, or over 10 thousand children in New Hampshire. An estimated 17.6 percent of those affected live in poverty. (SAMHSA National Mental Health Information Center)
  • In September 2003, the New Hampshire Legislature voted to allow Health & Human Services to restrict access to drugs in the Medicaid program through the use of a preferred drug list. By passing HB 4, the legislature wisely exempted mental health medications for people with severe mental illnesses from the process. This is recognized as best practice and research demonstrates that protecting consumer access to medications for mental illness is smart policy. (Kaiser Commission: Medicaid and the Uninsured, December 2003)
  • Unlike the rest of healthcare, Medications comprise only 3% of costs for mental illnesses—and some experts contend that they may be responsible for more than 50% of positive treatment outcomes. (M. Graham, "Restrictive Formularies," National Mental Health Association, Department of Healthcare Reform)

AND OTHER STATE’S EXPERIENCES….

  • Forcing people with mental illnesses to switch to cheaper medications cost the state $6,000 to $8,000 additional dollars per patient due to increased hospitalizations. (California)
  • Restricting access to medications through drug formularies increased Louisiana’s Medicaid cost by 4.1 percent. (Louisiana)
  • A year’s worth of medications averages $3,800 versus an average of $950 a day for hospitalizations. (Florida)

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