Anxiety is expensive: Employee mental health costs rise twice as fast as all other medical expenses


Anxiety Is Expensive

Anxiety is expensive and not only as a source of suffering for fellow human beings. Mental health, much too long deferred, is demanding attention in workplaces. The financial costs for mental health have been rising at twice the rate of other medical expenses… which have been rising too much for too long. 

Perhaps organizations can use these rising costs and offer more holistic health options to employees and their families.

The amount of money companies spend on the mental health of their employees has been rising at a rapid clip — with annual costs increasing twice as fast as all other medical expenses in recent years, according to data from Aetna Behavioral Health. And people with mental health conditions like depression, bipolar disorder or substance abuse cost employers more money. They make six times as many emergency room visits as the overall population, according to benefits consulting firm Willis Towers Watson. They submit two to four times as many medical claims. People suffering from depression submit an average of $14,967 per year in claims, compared with $5,929 a year for the total population, Willis Towers Watson said. Some employers are making improving the costs and treatment of mental illness a top priority — on par with combating cancer, diabetes and other chronic ailments, according to a new survey of 687 companies conducted by Willis Towers Watson. Of employers surveyed, 57 percent said they plan to focus on mental and behavioral health to a great or “very great extent” over the next three years.

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