CCHE Seminar Series: Racial Disparities in Access to and Use of Antidepressants for Major Depressive Disorder, Evidence From the USA, 2009-2018
Racial Disparities in Access to and Use of Antidepressants for Major Depressive Disorder, Evidence From the USA, 2009-2018
University of Toronto
Friday September 30, 2022, 10am-12pm, HS Room 108 and Zoom
Abstract: Although the US reports one of the highest depression rates in the world, treatment access for this condition has historically been and remains highly variable in different socio-demographic groups. Financial barriers manifesting themselves by considerable inequalities in health insurance coverage and high costs associated with treating this condition have a differential effect on various minority groups, including racialized communities and immigrant populations. Using the NHANES 2009-2017 data, I estimate the effects of insurance coverage (e.g., Medicare, private insurance) on the use of antidepressant treatments among populations affected by depressive symptoms. The results of Heckman-type models indicate that even after correcting for sample (self-)selection effects, the Afro-American and Hispanic communities have rates of treatment uptake that are 15-30% lower compared to the baseline. The study suggests that even complete elimination of inequalities in health insurance coverage would only partially mitigate the problem of unequal access to depression treatment and that the implementation of other policies needs to be considered to effectively address this issue.
Alex Proshin received his Ph.D. from the Paris School of Economics in 2021 and is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the IHPME. His interests include health economics, healthcare expenditure and funding schemes, and microeconometric techniques in public policy evaluations.