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The unpredictable – and often prolonged – aspects of depression, stress and other types of behavioral health make insuring patients a unique challenge. Add the uncertain future of the Affordable Care Act to the mix, and employers are understandly concerned about its affect on health plan costs.
The Disability Management Employer Coalition recently surveyed small, mid-sized and large companies about behavioral health coverage in the workplace. Employee Benefit News reports on the group’s findings:
“The survey found that direct costs of mental health care represent around 6% of overall health care costs and nearly 30% of young adults (those aged 18 to 25) were estimated to have had a diagnosable disorder, which is more than any other age group. The estimates for adults between the ages of 26 and 49, and those 50 and over, were 22.1% and 14.3%, respectively.
“Overall, 11.4 million U.S. adults – about 5% of the adult population – have a disorder that greatly impairs their ability to function in daily life. According to the DMEC survey, 47.7% of respondents believe behavioral risk is an important emerging area of concern. Forty percent include a behavioral component in their integrated or coordinated disability/absence management program.”
The majority of respondents also expressed reluctance to add or develop behavioral health programs given rising costs and the undetermined fate of health care reform.