Employers Addressing Alcohol Problems Save By
Offering Equitable Coverage
Do you offer health insurance coverage for alcohol treatment that is comparable to that for other medical conditions and illnesses? Are the copays and deductibles the same as for other illnesses?
People needing treatment for alcohol problems put it off or drop out quickly if they feel they cannot afford alcohol treatment. A company that has a health insurance benefit that inhibits alcohol treatment may be penny wise and pound foolish. For example, a study by the RAND think tank found that one-third of patients with a copay of $25 or more for outpatient alcohol treatment did not follow up for outpatient treatment. Dropping copays to $10 increased follow-up more than 30 percent, and dropping copay completely increased outpatient use by more than 50 percent. The cost of lowering barriers can be as low as $5.00 per employee per year. Where state insurance laws require that alcohol treatment coverage be the same as that for other illnesses, a practice known as parity, people are much more likely to get services they need.
For more information about parity in health plans, see Workplace Solutions: Treating Alcohol Problems Through Employment-Based Health Insurance.