Health maintenance organizations (HMOs) generally have very limited
coverage of mental health care and have been charged with shortchanging
chronic patients in the interests of economy. The authors analyzed 1979-
1980 coverage and utilization data from 53 federally qualified HMOs. They
found that while coverage is limited and very similar across the spectrum
of HMOs, utilization rates vary greatly and do not correlate with extent of
coverage. They suggest that management decisions may be critical in
determining access to and use of mental health benefits in HMOs.