HR is caught between a rock and a hard place—between reining in employee healthcare costs and, at the same time, delivering an exceptional employee experience, one that promotes a healthy, happy, productive and loyal workforce. Striking a balance between cost control and a differentiated employee experience is hard, but there’s another factor at play that makes it even more challenging: the mental and behavioral health crisis facing our country.
For employers, it means a 10% growth in behavioral health expenses each year—a growth rate two times faster than other medical expenses7—and a huge toll on employee wellbeing and productivity. This impact, reinforced by growing concern about the opioid epidemic, is prompting employers of all sizes to take action.
Employers say they’re pursuing a variety of strategies to improve employees’ understanding of mental health issues and the resources available to them.
Employers can take additional steps to give their people the support they need before an acute event occurs or a person has entered the healthcare system for mental health treatment. Personalized advocacy works in conjunction with health plans and providers to transform the behavioral healthcare experience from a reactive, siloed approach focused on acute conditions to a proactive and integrated approach focused on the whole person and their full life context.
What some of our customers’ employees and family members are saying:
“Today I almost cried when my nurse Marci called me. I’ve been dealing with so much emotionally and personally. I recently got diagnosed with two chronic diseases. Emotionally the diagnoses were pretty devastating. Everything happened during a very difficult time in my life when I was dealing with many other issues. Many times, I felt like I would be alone in the process, so today when unexpectedly my nurse Marci called, I was so pleased. To hear another person ask about how I was doing, and could provide an educated ear was just so refreshing and empowering. I simply cannot explain how much the call meant to me, and how incredibly happy it made me during a time of my life when hope can seem scarce. Thank you, Marci!” – Accolade member
“I just wanted to give a shout out to my nurse and also the whole team of Accolade. She has helped with both of my kids— one has been suffering with depression, and the other has dyslexia, so I have been using your service to navigate my kids through to good health. I hope we will always have Accolade in our life. Thank you.” – Accolade member
“My Accolade Health Assistant was wonderful. She helped me connect with the mental health people I needed for my son. She called several times to make sure that my needs were being met. It was a lot of help connecting me with the people I needed for my son. This is a difficult time in our lives and Accolade made it a lot easier.” – Accolade member
“I could not be happier with the services of Accolade as they have helped me through the years with my husband’s job loss, depression, DUIs, rehab due to alcoholism, and now his death and my back pain and depression. I’m suffering through these things, and I am thankful for all these people at Accolade who have helped me. I am so grateful that Comcast has these benefits for us. Thank you.” – Accolade member
“I couldn’t have made this impact anywhere else. I couldn’t have done it in a hospital, because once a patient is discharged, psychiatric nurses won’t see him again until there is a relapse. I couldn’t have done it in an environment in which first-call resolution is the primary goal. I could have only done this at Accolade, where long-term relationships are encouraged and resources are well-developed and we’re given the time and the room to keep trying until a good solution is found.” – Accolade Clinical Steward, Behavioral Health
¹ Mental Health By The Numbers, National Alliance on Mental Illness, retrieved from: https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-By-the-Numbers
² Infographic, “Can We Live Longer? Integrated Healthcare’s Promise,” Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, retrieved from https://www.integration.samhsa.gov/Integration_Infographic_8_5x30_final.pdf
³ Mental Health By The Numbers, National Alliance on Mental Illness
5 Mental Health By The Numbers, National Alliance on Mental Illness
6 National Institute of Mental Health, retrieved from: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/suicide.shtml
7 LaVito, A., (Sept 2018), Anxiety is Expensive, CNBC, retrieved from: https://www.cnbc.com/2018/09/26/employers-are-starting-to-think-about-healthy-differently.html
8 Willis Towers Watson 23rd Annual Best Practices in Healthcare Employer Survey, retrieved from: https://www.willistowerswatson.com/-/media/WTW/PDF/Insights/2018/10/wtw-23rd-annual-best-practices-in-health-care-employer-survey-executive-summary.pdf
9-11 National Business Group on Health 2019 Large Employer Healthcare Strategy and Plan Design Survey, retrieved from: https://www.businessgrouphealth.org/benchmarking/survey-reports/surveys-of-large-employers/