Employers Addressing Alcohol Problems Save By
Improving Alcohol Treatment Health Insurance Benefits
The Alcohol Cost Calculator for Business shows how companies pay a hefty cost for untreated alcohol problems. But many companies offer health benefits to their employees that make getting effective treatment for alcohol problems difficult. The costs of untreated alcohol problems can easily exceed the cost of treating employees' alcohol problems.
Employers with successful track records in preventing and treating alcohol problems work proactively to:
Offer equitable coverage: In 2008, Congress passed the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act. This act requires that employers who offer mental health and substance abuse benefits do so at a level commensurate with other medical and surgical benefits. Plan elements such as copayments, deductibles and treatment limitations for substance abuse and mental health services can be no more restrictive than the terms attached to general medical services. Most plans with 50 or more members will be required to meet these guidelines by January 1, 2010.
Recent evidence suggests that upgrading health insurance coverage to include equitable coverage for addiction to alcohol and other drugs in a managed care plan will increase premiums at most companies by 0.2 percent, as little as $5.00 per member per year.
Expect value: monitor the effectiveness of treatment: Expect more from your health plan and employee assistance program. Make sure that you are getting good value for your investment.
Offer state-of-the-art treatment: You can monitor the standards of the care that employees and family members with alcohol problems receive to be sure that treatment practices are effective and up to date. Nationally established standards can guide your evaluation.