Hospital Indemnity Insurance a Key Voluntary BenefitDecember 14, 2021
Happy Holidays!December 23, 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic has had profound effects on health insurance in the U.S., with many employers improving mental health and other benefits to help their workers during this trying period, according to a new report by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Despite the disruptions caused by the pandemic, the proportion of employers that offer their staff health coverage has remained steady, while health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket expense increases have remained moderate, according to KFF’s “2021 Employer Health Benefits Survey.” With the stress of the pandemic weighing on workers in all industries, as well as the effects on their families and society from lockdowns and other changes brought on by COVID-19, many Americans have been struggling with mental health as well as substance abuse. Provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control’s National Center for Health Statistics indicate that there were an estimated 100,306 drug overdose deaths in the United States during the 12-month period ending in April 2021, an increase of 28.5% from the 78,056 deaths during the same period the year before. Besides drugs, alcohol abuse has also skyrocketed during the pandemic, according to the CDC. Another report by the CDC found that 40% of U.S. adults had reported struggling with mental health or substance abuse:
- 31% reported symptoms of anxiety and/or depression.
- 26% reported symptoms of trauma/stressor-related disorder.
- 13% started or increased substance abuse.
- 11% reported seriously considering suicide.
- 31% increased the ways employees can access mental health services, such as telemedicine.
- 58% of employers with 200 or more employees and 38% of those with 50 to 199 employees expanded online counseling services.
- 16% started offering employee assistance programs or other new resources for mental health.
- 6% expanded access to in-network mental health providers.
- 4% reduced cost-sharing for such visits.
- 3% increased coverage for out-of-network services.
- 38% of large companies (1,000 or more workers) said their workers had used more mental health services in 2021 than the year before.
- 12% of companies with at least 50 employees said their workers had increased their use of mental health services.