×

How to Comment:

Tap the quote mark to comment on articles.

Mercer

Congress has passed legislation to increase enforcement of mental health and substance abuse parity rules and require health plans to apply parity standards to eating disorder benefits as part of a sweeping bill intended to spur development of new drugs and medical devices. The 21st Century Cures Act also includes provisions to let small employers use health reimbursement accounts (HRAs) to cover employees' costs for individual-market health insurance on a tax-free basis. The measure is expected to be signed into law by President Obama.

Helpful
Not Helpful
Expand Story

The nonprofit organization Catalyst for Payment Reform is hosting a series of webcasts this month focused on “Addressing Today's Leading Challenges.” I was invited to cover behavioral health -- specifically, the changing behavioral health landscape for employers and the need to develop innovative strategies to bend the cost trend and improve care.

Helpful
Not Helpful
Expand Story

Mental health parity is nowhere close to the top of most lists of benefit concerns. After all, the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) is eight years old and has never received the attention paid to other laws. Its rules are complex, requiring comparison of mental health/substance use disorder benefits with medical/surgical benefits in six separate classifications.

Helpful
Not Helpful
Expand Story

The Golden State Warriors have started this year’s basketball season with a record-setting 16 straight wins. I watch all of the post-game interviews and I’ve noticed that the word “mindfulness” pops up more often than you might expect. It’s certainly not a new concept within sports (sports psychology dates back to the 1920s) but the use of meditation -- and, specifically, mindfulness -- is a growing practice.

 

Helpful
Not Helpful
Expand Story

After the events in Paris and Beirut last week, every one of your screens – from TVs to tablets, phones to laptops – was probably like mine, filled with stories and images of tragedy and human loss. For better or worse, the speed and connectedness of our social world allow us to feel and experience events throughout the globe, via tweets, timelines and newsfeeds, all updating around the clock. As we process and digest the events, we’re asked to try to continue normal daily life in our homes, our workplaces, and our communities.

 

Helpful
Not Helpful
Expand Story

In a review of claims data for almost 100 Mercer employer clients, representing approximately 2.5 million members, we found that the Mental Health and Substance Abuse per member per year cost trend (for allowed charges) rose nearly 11%, in stark contrast to overall medical PMPY trend of 3.5%. And while MH/SA claims represent a small percentage of the overall medical claim costs (4%), a spike in the cost may be a symptom of a larger issue – and an opportunity for employers to get out in front. What’s driving this trend?

 

Helpful
Not Helpful
Expand Story