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Health & Wellness Spotlights

Holistic care

Preventive health

Budgeting

How to move the needle in mental health with finite resources

Sagi Polani

February 12, 2024

Employers face a catch-22 when it comes to their employee health and wellness benefits, and the results of the recently released WTW Best Practices Survey prove it. 

69% of employers have managing healthcare costs as one of their top priorities for the coming three years. That should be no surprise, with a projected 6.4% increase in the costs of healthcare for 2024. And yet, simultaneously, 63% of employers are prioritizing mental health and emotional wellbeing, which will ostensibly increase costs. 

How can employers do both?

Why has mental health become such a priority?

Mental health has rightfully taken center stage as a top priority for both employers and employees. The heightened focus on mental wellbeing reflects a growing awareness of the impact of mental health on overall productivity and function in both the personal and professional spheres. Untreated mental health issues often lead to an increase in absenteeism. 

Healthcare legislation and regulation have attempted to improve access to behavioral health services through regulations like the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (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 (such as higher cost-sharing amounts) than those faced by people seeking treatment for medical and surgical conditions.

All this puts employers under increasing pressure to offer comprehensive mental health solutions that cater to the diverse needs of their workforce while ensuring compliance with mental health parity regulations.

The delicate balance between reducing costs and enhancing mental health offerings

Some steps toward prioritizing mental health will likely add to your employer-sponsored healthcare budget. “Eliminating cost sharing for virtual care visits for mental health services,” for example, is one of the WTW study’s five “actions to take now.” 

It makes sense; other studies have shown that cost-sharing for mental health services reduces individuals’ utilization of those services. But taking that action will under most circumstances add to your healthcare costs, not reduce them. 

Some steps, however, are a matter of redirecting funds to effective but less expensive options that you did not previously have available. 

A study on the JAMA Network notes that “Peer support and affinity group strategies have been successful in substance use treatment and could be used among patients with SMI (serious mental illness) to improve their motivation to access care.” Peer support groups, especially virtual options, are often less expensive than individual mental health care services, and at the same time can play an important part in improving participants’ mental health. So making those options available and accessible is prioritizing mental health while also reducing your healthcare costs.

Achieving the balance

At Fijoya, we believe that all individuals should have access to the physical and mental health care they need. But we also know that employers, no matter how progressive and well-meaning, have finite resources. 

As we built Fijoya, we realized that reducing costs and prioritizing mental health care don’t have to be in conflict. They are two motivators that can create a better, more streamlined employer-sponsored healthcare system that actually utilizes resources more efficiently.

Individualized care for diverse needs

Fijoya's platform provides access to a wide range of healthcare services, including virtual care, mental health services and access to peer support groups for varied issues. Each employee can pick what would give them the most benefit and pay for it with their pre-paid Fijoya card. 

In addition, Fijoya’s AI-based recommendation engine suggests which services could be the most relevant for them given information the employee provided at onboarding, as well as their continued use of the platform. In this way, each individual is guided toward the care that will best fit their needs. 

Cost reduction from the get-go

Managing point solutions takes a considerable chunk of Benefits team working hours. In fact, in one conversation we had with a Chief Medical Officer, 40% of the team was dedicated to the selection, contracting, reimbursements and support associated with point solutions. 

Do you realize the reduction in costs that would happen immediately - just from eliminating that headache? (We did. That’s why we built Fijoya.)

Data, data, data

The JAMA study mentioned above notes that “more granular data are needed to evaluate use patterns and assess how they are associated with not only cost outcomes, but also important measures of quality and experience.” In short, data is insight and insight is power.

The Fijoya platform empowers employers with valuable usage analytics that provide insights into employee healthcare utilization. This data-driven approach supports compliance with mental health parity regulations and enables informed decision-making. Employers can make data-backed decisions to optimize their benefits offerings and enhance the overall wellbeing of their workforce. 

Our priority

At Fijoya, we understand the challenge and delicate balance employers face in navigating rising healthcare costs and addressing mental health priorities. Fijoya's comprehensive platform is designed to assist you in addressing these challenges effectively, providing cost-effective and impactful solutions that benefit both employers and employees.

Health & Wellness Spotlights

Holistic care

Preventive health

Budgeting

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