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1 in 4 Americans Got Mental Health Support Through Coverage at Work

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Published May 23, 2022 • by AHIP

The COVID-19 pandemic made mental health everyone’s issue. Everyone was impacted — even the mentally well. Resulting demand has skyrocketed, putting a premium on effective and affordable mental health support and a spotlight on the quick actions taken by health insurance providers to create more affordable, high-quality choices for counseling.

More than half of Americans, nearly 180 million, have employer-provided coverage for their health care needs — which offers an essential path to accessing this much-needed mental health support.

New research conducted by AHIP’s Coverage@Work campaign shows that nearly 1 in 4 Americans — 41 million people — received mental health support in 2020 though their employer-provided coverage. That includes 6 million children who received mental health support as a dependent through an employer-provided plan.

Much of this expanded access was the result of health insurance providers quickly boosting virtual support: Almost 40% of visits for psychotherapy were conducted through a telehealth appointment in 2020. That is a 100-fold increase up from the year before.

“Telehealth interventions with behavioral health have truly saved lives… it’s been integral to survival,” said Jenny Martin, a licensed clinical psychologist. “Thanks to the coverage from so many different employers, people are finding themselves much more equipped to be able to be empowered, to find the therapist, find the clinician, who’s going to be the best fit for them to grow, heal, and recover.”

In addition to new types of access, employer-provided coverage also expanded choices for more whole-person mental health support. More than half of patients who sought support with workplace plans received it through a primary care physician (PCP). While psychiatrists, psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, and therapists offer valuable, specialized support, PCPs offer a holistic approach for physical and mental health support, from anxiety and depression to medication and comprehensive care for more complex conditions.

Employer-provided coverage also delivered financial peace of mind: patients spent less than $15 in out-of-pocket costs for most drugs prescribed to treat mental health conditions.

It's no surprise, then, that the vast majority of voters with employer-provided coverage who received mental or behavioral health support — 88% — say they were satisfied with the services they received, according to a recent Morning Consult poll conducted on behalf of AHIP’s Coverage@Work campaign.

No one should suffer from depression, anxiety and other mental health issues alone. Everyone deserves the care they need to keep their bodies and minds healthy. Find out more about the value employer-provided coverage delivers to nearly 180 million Americans. Hear from patients and experts on how employer-provided coverage supports enrollees, families, and communities here.

Coverage@Work

Coverage@Work (C@W) is a campaign to educate policymakers and the public about the value employer-provided coverage delivers to nearly 180 million Americans. C@W supports and advocates for market-based solutions that advance health, choice, affordability, and value for every American.

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