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Health & Wellness Spotlights

Health equity

Preventive health

The hidden costs of untreated mental illness

Sagi Polani

February 12, 2024

2 min

If your employees are representative of the typical American population, around 40% of them experience symptoms of depression - or anxiety-related disorders. How many of them are receiving treatment for their mental health? Probably less than half. And 24.7% of them may be actively seeking treatment, but are unable to receive it. 

This blog post explores the economic implications of mental illness to an employer-sponsored healthcare environment and what employers can do to help both their employees as individuals and their company as a whole. 

What happens when employee mental illness remains untreated

Rising costs of absenteeism: Employees dealing with mental health issues contribute to higher absenteeism rates, impacting workforce productivity. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), analyzing the economic burden of untreated mental illness in the state of Indiana, found that of the estimated $4.2 billion cost to society annually, absenteeism accounted for $875 million.

Excess direct healthcare costs: The same study found the excess cost of healthcare for individuals with untreated mental illness (relative to individuals who also had mental illness but were getting treatment for it) came to an estimated $708 million.

Questions of adherence to the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA): If employees are having trouble getting treatment because of limitations or restrictions in their employer-sponsored healthcare plan, that may indicate a lack of adherence to the MHPAEA. The MHPAEA was enacted in order to ensure that people seeking mental health and substance use disorder care do not face greater barriers to treatment than those faced by people seeking treatment for medical and surgical conditions.

How Fijoya supports

Fijoya understands the challenge Benefits teams face in providing their employees with treatment for mental illnesses and adhering to government equity and parity policies, while still making sure their Benefit plans are economically feasible for their company. 

It is our mission to help employers accomplish both. 

Fijoya’s platform is designed to:

  • Let you offer employees diverse mental health treatment services without wasting budget on unused services
  • Simplify mental health solution vendor contracting 
  • Help you adhere to the evolving rules of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act

The mental health crisis can have serious economic implications for employers. Fortunately, employers who are aware of the situation and take practical steps to make mental health treatments available to their employees have the opportunity to make a positive impact, not only on the individual wellbeing of their employees, but also to their company’s economic success.

Health & Wellness Spotlights

Health equity

Preventive health

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