A growing number of companies are including addiction treatment options and support in their benefits packages and some are relaxing network limits. This is increasingly important when you consider the skyrocketing number of opioid overdoses and the fact that 70% of people with SUDs are working.
Removing the stigma: normalizing mental health conversations
The trend toward HR professionals and managers intervening and guiding employees to take better care of themselves isn’t new. What is new is the way they’re approaching behavioral health and encouraging employees to use their benefits early and often. Telemedicine, or virtual health, has expanded access to behavioral health networks, while drastically reducing the time employees must wait to access providers or other community resources. Other services, like self-care videos, well-being calls, online meditation sessions, educational tools and dedicated breaks have been adopted by employers seeking to help employees manage stress and anxiety.
In addition to changing benefit designs to address mind, body, and spirit, HR professionals are widening the scope of their packages to help people find the best in-network providers, leading to lower out-of-pocket costs. They’re also adding services to help employees find and make appointments and providing support for families and caregivers.
At Alight, we work with our clients to improve access to these services and reduce the stigma often associated with mental health treatment. We’re already seeing a positive impact. Early results show participants are highly satisfied with the guidance they are getting to find quality care.
The need for these services is clear. Ninety-five percent of people who responded to a recent survey said they’d benefit from behavioral healthcare. Half of the respondents said they—or someone they knew—dealt with mental health problems in the last year. Few knew where or how to find help. This is where HR professionals—and their benefit designs—enter the picture.
Employers extending a helping hand
It’s encouraging to see employers enhancing and encouraging use of benefits for behavioral healthcare. And while there is a proven financial benefit to their actions, the primary driver for these investments is employee well-being, according to industry data. It’s a glimmer of good amid the pandemic gloom.
Sharing resources early and often with employees and families struggling with depression, anxiety, grief and loss, bipolar disorders, eating disorders, and SUDs improves the chances they’ll get the care they need. Offering services that connect them with providers—identifying in-network providers and making appointments—gets them even closer to that goal. It’s a game-changer that will set employers apart in their efforts to recruit and retain talent, their greatest asset.