National estimates of mental health utilization and expenditures for children in 1998

J Behav Health Serv Res. 2001 Aug;28(3):319-33. doi: 10.1007/BF02287247.


No recent national data on expenditures and utilization are available to provide a benchmark for reform of mental health systems for children and adolescents. The most recent estimates, from 1986, predate the dramatic growth of managed care. This study provides updated national estimates. Treatment expenditures are estimated to be $11.68 billion ($172 per child). Adolescents have the highest expenditures at $293 per child followed by $163 per child aged 6 to 11 and $35 per preschool-aged child. Outpatient services account for 57%, inpatient for 33%, and psychotropic medications for 9% of the total. Unlike earlier reports, outpatient care now accounts for the majority of expenditures. This finding replicates the differences between recent managed care data and earlier actuarial databases for privately insured adults and confirms the trend from inpatient toward outpatient care.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Ambulatory Care / economics
  • Ambulatory Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Child
  • Child Health Services / economics*
  • Child Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Health Expenditures / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Expenditures / trends
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Insurance, Health / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Managed Care Programs / economics
  • Medicaid / statistics & numerical data
  • Mental Health Services / economics*
  • Mental Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States
  • Utilization Review / statistics & numerical data