How Does Your Benefits Plan Stack Up Against Mental Health Parity Regulations?

Take the first step towards compliance with Mercer’s Mental Health Parity Risk Diagnostic Solution

Mental Health Parity (MHP) regulations require group health plans that provide coverage of mental health and substance abuse conditions to do so in a way that is on par with medical coverage benefit offerings. These regulations are complex and increasingly being enforced, while the cost and risks of noncompliance are high. 

Many employers lack the resources to do a full-scale parity assessment and need a more turnkey solution that doesn’t sacrifice the diligence and expertise needed to ensure they get compliant. Mercer’s new MHP Risk Diagnostic Solution reviews your self-insured plan options against a series of carefully defined “red flag” areas and pinpoints plan features that appear to be at higher risk for non-compliance with MHP guidelines.  

Why is mental health important in the workforce?

  • There’s been a seismic national shift in viewing mental healthcare to be as essential as physical healthcare
  • An employee’s untreated depression means 4.1 less hours of productive work time per week
  • Annual behavioral healthcare spend in the U.S. is $135 billion
  • U.S. employers are losing an average of $10 billion annually from lost work and productivity related to opioid abuse1
  • Mental health disorders are the leading cause of disease burden in the U.S. In 2014, studies showed 18.1% of adults in the U.S. had struggled with mental illness within the past year2

1 Source: American  Society of Addiction Medicine 2016

2 Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2014

What is Mental Health Parity and why does it matter?

While mental health is a key driver of employee productivity and benefit cost, employees have historically had difficulty accessing mental health coverage. The Mental Health Parity and Addition Equity Act (MHPAEA) was signed into US law in 2008 to ensure parity in this area of employee benefits.

The topic of mental health has carried a nonpartisan, populist message for years, and any corporate effort spent complying with MHPAEA will pay off in dividends long-term.

As the federal government has recently issued further guidance on how employers should interpret and comply with MHP regulation guidelines, and in light of increased MHP audit and litigation activity, now is the time to check your mental health benefits strategy.

A strategic option for understanding your MHP compliance risk

Mercer’s MHP Risk Diagnostic Solution is a streamlined and affordable solution that helps you identify your compliance risk areas effectively and efficiently.  It’s the first step in a partnership that will help you improve your MHP compliance process and your broader Behavioral Health and Compliance strategies. Mercer consultants can provide you with the expertise to identify the areas of your mental health benefits strategy that need attention and address them moving forward.

Ready for a diagnosis on the health of your company’s mental health parity benefits? Fill out the form below to speak to a consultant now.

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