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New Research: Nearly 1 in 4 Americans with Employer-Provided Coverage Received Mental Health Support in 2020

Press Release

6 million children received mental health support and treatment through an employer-provided plan.

Published May 12, 2022 • by AHIP

Washington, D.C. – May 12, 2022 – Every American deserves access to both physical and mental health support, and health insurance providers are working to help them find the services they need at a price they can afford. Nearly 180 million Americans have employer-provided coverage (EPC) for their health care needs, which offers an essential path to accessing quality mental health support. In fact, 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 coverage. That includes 6 million children who received mental health support as a dependent through an employer-provided plan.

“Health insurance providers are committed to working together to improve access to mental health support for every covered patient who needs it. We will continue to work with community leaders and government officials to improve mental health care access,” said Matt Eyles, AHIP President and CEO.

AHIP’s research was based on medical and pharmacy claims data related to mental health support from the IBM® MarketScan® Commercial Database for the period January 1, 2016, to December 31, 2020. The key findings of the research include:

  • 41 million Americans with employer-provided coverage received mental health support in 2020.
  • 6 million children received mental health services and treatment through a parent or guardian’s employer plan in 2020.
  • Almost 40% of visits for psychotherapy were conducted through a telehealth appointment in 2020, compared to less than 1% in 2019—a hundred-fold increase in just one year.
  • Patients spent less than $15 in out-of-pocket costs for most drugs prescribed to treat mental health conditions.

More than half of patients who sought mental health support received it through a primary care physician (PCP). Psychiatrists, psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, and therapists offer valuable, specialized support, while PCPs offer a holistic approach for physical and mental health support, from anxiety and depression, to medication and comprehensive care for more complex conditions.

“We need more innovative collaborations and solutions with mental health professionals and communities to address these complex issues. Health insurance providers are helping to make this happen,” Eyles said.

To achieve further improvements and continue to expand access to mental health support, AHIP proposes that Congress permanently extend the safe harbor allowing Consumer-Directed Health Plans to cover telehealth services on a pre-deductible basis. For millions of individuals and families with employer-provided coverage, making this safe harbor permanent means certainty that their more affordable and convenient access to care – including mental health care – is here to stay. Congress should also consider action to address the growing shortage of mental health providers available in many areas to serve patients.

Visit AHIP’s mental health resource page.

About AHIP

AHIP is the national association whose members provide health care coverage, services, and solutions to hundreds of millions of Americans every day. We are committed to market-based solutions and public-private partnerships that make health care better and coverage more affordable and accessible for everyone. Visit to learn how working together, we are Guiding Greater Health.


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