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State risk pools provide an opportunity for persons with mental health and substance abuse (MH/ SA) problems to purchase health insurance. This study uses data from eight risk pools during the period 1988-1991 to analyze the utilization and enrollment experience for persons who submit claims for MH/ SA treatment. Special consideration is given to the effect of variation in inpatient benefits across risk pools. The experience of Connecticut’s risk pool differs markedly from that of the other risk pools. Given that two states (Connecticut and Florida) have restricted MH/ SA benefits over time, we discuss the ability of risk pools to maintain comprehensive MH/ SA benefits.
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