COVID-19 And Behavioral Health Indicators For Employer Sponsored Health Plans

Untreated depression and anxiety can increase health care costs

As we enter the tenth month of the global pandemic, the socio-emotional impact of COVID-19 on businesses and families continues to take its toll. The human psyche struggles to simultaneously maintain resilience and retain hope amidst breaks in the supply chain for goods and services, business and school closures, loss of wages and homes for workers, and the daily reminder of lives lost due to this virus.

The pandemic has resulted in workers across the spectrum including C-suite executives, human resources, frontline healthcare professionals, educators, work-at-home and essential workers experiencing overwhelming emotional fatigue and social isolation. Emotional and/or pandemic fatigue is characterized by feelings of physical and mental exhaustion, stress, sadness, loss of sleep, loss of control, grief, feeling disconnected and decreased productivity. The holiday season further exacerbates these feelings.

Prolonged loneliness can amplify chronic conditions including depression, heart disease and diabetes. It is critical that employers increase their awareness of employee mental health and social connectedness. When left untreated, loneliness, depression, stress and anxiety can result in higher medical, pharmacy, disability and worker’s compensation costs.

 

Steps Your Company Can Take Now

Ask your healthcare vendor if they have a COVID-19 report card that tracks the impact of COVID-19 and behavioral health cost and utilization. Tracking and managing costs related to behavioral health can mitigate plan costs and optimize the health and well-being of your workforce. Here are some helpful metrics to track and compare to pre-COVID-19 data:

Optimatum’s Support Team

Dr. Edwards is our new Executive Client Optimization Officer bringing 30+ years of experience in health care data and analytics, absence and disability management, managed care and direct clinical practice. She applies her multi-disciplinary insight to Optimatum’s HR vendor management service models using data-driven solutions to strategically align stakeholders and vendors.