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Employer Health Plans Get A Failing Grade on Mental Health Offerings

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Mental health seriously impacts physical health and vice versa. Access to care is a predominant problem in the United States, and workplace well being has come into focus in recent years.

According to Milliman, Inc., the international actuarial and consulting firm, employer sponsored health plans offer inferior coverage for mental health and addiction treatment when compared to physical health offerings.

In-network access to behavioral health providers for 37 million employees and dependents worsened in 2016 and 2017 compared to earlier years. Inpatient out of network use for substance abuse treatment was more than 10 times more likely than for medical/surgical care in 2017, as compared to 4.7 times in 2013. According to Milliman, a child’s out of network office visit for behavioral health was 10.1 times more likely than an out of network primary care visit.

All this is to say that access to behavioral health providers is a substantial roadblock to wellness and recovery.

A coalition of behavioral health organizations urged 5 action steps to reduce the growing incidence of serious behavioral health problems:

· Improve network access for behavioral health specialists

· Integrate behavioral health into primary care

· Implement measurement-based care to improve quality and outcomes

· Expand telebehavioral health options

· Ensure mental health parity compliance

We need a focused effort to change the culture of care in the United States. Employers can play a large role in improving overall care and health of their employees while driving down costs, too.

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