Value of Coverage: Mental Health

TAHP

By Alicia Pierce and Jamie Dudensing

People with health insurance have better access to care, and importantly that includes mental health care. Two recent studies show that people with insurance not only have better access to mental health services, but they are overwhelmingly satisfied with the services they receive. 

This is especially important as there is an increasing awareness of the importance of mental health care as demand increased during the pandemic and beyond. In 2020, nearly 1 out of 4 people with employer-sponsored health coverage sought mental health support. This includes 6 million children who are covered by a parent’s employer-sponsored plan. 

Helping to manage the increase in services and do it in a safe way, telehealth for mental health services increased. Almost 40% of visits for psychotherapy were conducted through a telehealth appointment in 2020, compared to less than 1% in 2019—a hundredfold increase in just one year.

In June, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) released a survey showing that health coverage continues to be important for access, affordability and satisfaction when it comes to mental health services. Some highlights include:

  • 3 in 4 insured Americans (73%) said they found it easy to get the mental health support they needed for themselves or those in their households.
  • 9 in 10 (91%) reported they are satisfied with the mental health support they received, with half (49%) saying they were very satisfied.
  • 4 in 10 insured Americans (38%) were able to find a mental health professional and start getting support within a week or two, while another 3 in 10 (29%) were able to start getting help within a month. 1 in 10 (11%) needed to wait 6 months or more, while 4% sought care but never received it.
  • 6 in 10 insured Americans (60%) reported that their mental health support was fully covered by insurance, while another 3 in 10 (33%) reported that their mental health support was partially covered by insurance. Only 3% reported their care was not covered.

As we increasingly understand that mental health is an integral part of overall health and well-being, health plans are doing their part to get members the care they need. It’s one more example of the value of coverage. 

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