Tom's Take Blog
May 8, 2018
As mental health becomes a bigger focus, what are some related benefits that are being incorporated with health plans?
Tom’s Take: With millions of employees dealing with mental illness in the U.S., two major obstacles continue to stand in the way of diagnosis and treatment: access and affordability. Fortunately, we’re seeing some signs of that changing as more employers are realizing the negative impact of mental illness and incorporating benefit solutions to help address it.
To start, the prevalence of mental health screenings/evaluations has increased, and more comprehensive employee assistance programs (EAPs) are being integrated into health plans. These enhanced EAPs are a big deal as they’re giving employees the ability to receive confidential assistance from qualified professionals around the clock. How so? Many EAPs have moved beyond the model of traditional face-to-face visits and are also offering expanded options like web-based/mobile consults.
Speaking of added technology, telemedicine solutions are making mental health care more accessible, too. That’s because a lot of these programs now offer a behavioral health component instead of limiting care services to just general physical conditions. Employers are taking notice of this and seeing telemedicine as another means to more conveniently, effectively and efficiently address mental health needs.
It’s inspiring to see these and so many other examples of how mental health benefits are being woven into health plans. We’re talking everything from partnerships and discounts for wellness-focused solutions to expanded coverage for substance abuse services. Some employers are even bringing more mental health care options right to the workplace by staffing counselors and therapists on-site.
Compared to just a few years ago, it seems like we’re making strides in emphasizing mental health as part of the larger employee benefits picture. Employers who see the value of improving access and affordability are finding plenty of ways to make mental health a priority!