A little-publicized legal decision was just issued by Judge Joseph C. Spero of the U.S. District Court of Northern California that anyone who plans to use their mental health insurance coverage to secure needed care will want to school themselves on. Ruling on a class action lawsuit brought against United Behavioral Health (UBH), a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group, the nation’s largest health insurer, Judge Spero drew the conclusion that UBH had reneged on its fiduciary responsibility to policyholders by adopting treatment guidelines that focused on cost savings through limiting coverage to the management of acute mental health episodes.Read More
Confessing to a friend or family member that you were entering therapy used to mean something. It was akin to divulging that you were embarking on a quasi-spiritual endeavor to take an honest inventory of your past, to forge a truer self, to develop a greater capacity to love, to learn to live more intentionally. It also meant to better understand and productively express your emotions, and so alleviate anxiety and depression stemming from the suppression of self.
But we live not in the age of therapy, but of “mental health interventions.” The prevailing wisdom is that people are better off managing their mental health symptoms by turning to medications and availing themselves of short-term therapy aimed at speedily correcting thinking errors and changing unwanted behaviors. This is due to several pernicious myths about what treatment is effective and what kind of psychotherapy coverage is actually available under most health plans.Read More
Americans are well aware that their health insurance premiums have increased steadily in recent years. The data substantiate it. According to Mercer’s 2017 National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans, large employers have absorbed a 3 percent annual increase in health insurance costs over the past five years, and will be hit by a 4.3 percent increase in 2018. What people aren’t privy to is that psychotherapy reimbursement rates have been stagnant or in decline for several decades, even though insurance premiums have risen sharply. This is mystifying given that the vast majority of people afflicted with anxiety and depression prefer psychotherapy over medications, science shows it rivals or even exceeds the benefits of medications, and it yields a “medical-cost offset,” or saves insurance carriers money on avoidable medical costs.Read More