Corporate Insight

Health Plan Stressors: Looking at Member Site Behavioral and Mental Health Resources

Posted on May 27, 2018

In recent years, issues like suicide and substance abuse have been at the forefront of healthcare. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, in 2016, suicide was the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. and the second leading cause of death among people under 44. In addition, CDC data analyzed by the New York Times found drug overdoses to be the leading cause of death among Americans under 50. Digital mental health resources provide unbiased information and practical tools to help members stay healthy and sober. This report reviews the mental and behavioral health programs and resources offered by Healthcare Monitor coverage group firms on their member sites.

Out of our 15 firm coverage group, 14 insurers provide mental health resources online. All but one of these provide locator capabilities for members to search for behavioral health specialists in their area; nine firms offer tool that indicate out-of-pocket costs for behavioral or mental health services. Though less common, 64% of firms include mental or behavioral health coverage and benefits details on their member sites as well. Most firms offer educational resources either through branded digital encyclopedias or third-party platforms with treatment information, tips and statistics on behavioral health conditions. Topics most commonly include anxiety and depression, followed by stress, abuse, substance abuse, autism, bipolar disorder and general well-being. The majority of firms (64%) also promote telehealth third-party sites with mental and behavioral health video visit services, on their member sites. Firms fall short, however, in offering innovative, actionable content, and they generally fail to promote the tools, calculators, assessments and interactive guides they do provide. Notably, 57% of firms offer interactive digital goalsetting and tracking tools to help members identify the causes and effects of their health issue as well as build goals and new habits