Substance Abuse Treatment Is Covered by More Companies as Employers Increase Mental Health Benefits to Combat the Stressors of COVID-19

REDWOOD CITY, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Lionrock Behavioral Health, Inc., the leading telehealth provider of substance use disorder (SUD) treatment and recovery services in the United States predicts a 100 percent increase in company-accessed online substance abuse benefits in 2021, as stigma surrounding mental health treatment drops amid the pandemic.

Prior to the Coronavirus crisis, a mental health movement was already well underway in work cultures across the United States. Since the pandemic took hold, attention on mental health and wellness has only increased, pushing employers further – to expand mental health benefits in order to keep a healthy and productive staff. Mental health encompasses much more than anxiety and mood disorders; it also includes substance use disorders. Over 40 percent of people with a substance use disorder also have a second mental health condition, yet fewer than half (48 percent) receive treatment for either disorder.

“Online substance use disorder treatment

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Vitality Launches First-of-its-kind Health and Wellness Marketplace for Employers

CHICAGO, Oct. 13, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Employers face a growing number of health and economic concerns including: the pandemic, rising costs of employee benefits, and meeting the needs of a multi-generational workforce where many will continue to work outside of the workplace environment for the foreseeable future. To help employers address these evolving challenges Vitality Group, a global health and wellness company committed to making people healthier, unveiled Vitality Gateway Flex a new way of boosting health and wellness engagement by offering more relevant choices to employees to meet their specific needs.

“As employees continue to work outside of the traditional workplace, it’s critical that employers engage them in smarter ways to manage their health and wellness,” said Tal Gilbert, CEO, Vitality USA. “Gateway Flex intuitively identifies the programs and partners that will have the greatest impact on the health of a member, and through behavioral engagement

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Free clinic helps small Maine employers navigate coronavirus legal issues

Alyson Mayo needed some legal advice.

Having started a business creating gluten-free desserts, Mayo was ready for a new challenge. In February, she earned certification as a personal trainer with an eye toward helping older adults with mobility issues, drawing on her undergraduate degree in sports science.

A local physical therapy office welcomed Mayo as an independent contractor. However, before she could begin, the coronavirus pandemic hit Maine.

Without any clients, Mayo forged ahead. She decided to provide training online. But how to set up the business? What about liability? Tax implications?

“I needed more information,” said Mayo, who got answers quickly and without charge through a new statewide program offered by the Volunteer Lawyers Project, with funding provided by the Maine Justice Foundation.

A longtime resource for low-income Mainers in need of legal assistance, the project recently launched a virtual clinic for nonprofits and small businesses with up to

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House Dems Tell DOL Employers’ Health Plans Skirt ERISA

Law360 (October 8, 2020, 6:12 PM EDT) — Two Democratic House leaders are urging the U.S. Department of Labor to take a close look at whether employers are violating the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by offering workers shoddy health benefit plans that are subject to less regulation under the law.

House Committee on Education and Labor Chairman Bobby Scott, D-Va., along with Subcommittee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chair Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., warned in their letter Wednesday that employers are increasingly using hospital insurance products meant to replace income during hospitalization or illness in place of traditional health coverage plans.

“Evidence strongly suggests that these arrangements may…

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Employers’ health benefits costs expected to grow, but most won’t take cost-saving measures

Despite the expected increase of employer’s health benefits costs in 2021, most companies do not plan on taking cost-savings measures, according to early results from Mercer’s National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans 2020.

The survey, which included over 1,000 employer responses since early July, estimates that the health benefits cost for employers will increase by 4.4% for 2021.

This increase follows the upward trend of annual change in health benefit costs since 2019, however, it is still outgrowing the Consumer Price Index and employee wage growth, which have fallen to nearly zero, according to Mercer. 

Mercer’s full survey results are expected to be released in November, the company said.


When developing their health plans, employers have to consider a variety of factors for the upcoming year according to Tracy Watts, a senior consultant at Mercer.

“Different assumptions about cost for COVID-related care, including a possible vaccine, and

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UnitedHealthcare’s Health Plan to Aid Kansas City’s Employers

UnitedHealth Group Inc.’s UNH business, UnitedHealthcare, recently expanded its relationship with Saint Luke’s Health System and Children’s Mercy Kansas City. Notably, the relation between UnitedHealthcare and Saint Luke’s can be traced back to 2017 when an accountable care organization (ACO) was formed through which UnitedHealthcare continues to facilitate improved level of data and assistance to Saint Luke’s physicians.

The latest collaboration has resulted in the development of a health plan — the Core Essential plan. The plan, likely to be effective from Jan 1 of next year, intends to benefit fully insured and self-funded employers in Johnson and Wyandotte counties situated in Kansas, and, Clay, Jackson and Platte counties situated in Missouri.

It’s worth mentioning that employers can avail the latest health plan, even if they have offices or facilities in other counties across Kansas and Missouri apart from the five specified ones as long as majority of their

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Employers Commit to Health Benefits as Pandemic Sows Uncertainty

Private buyers of healthcare say they’re open to government reforms and new payment strategies.

A solid majority (71%) of the nation’s employers are holding firm or accelerating health benefit strategies for their workers, even as the coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing economic downturn disrupts business as usual, according to a new poll from the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions

Employers are even more receptive to healthcare reforms on a variety of issues including drug price regulation (94%), hospital price transparency (90%), surprise billing regulation (81%) and hospital rate regulation (79%).

Half of employers (50%) said a Medicare public option could be very or somewhat helpful, while 21% felt it could be very or somewhat harmful. When asked about Medicare for All, 46% of employers indicated that would be very or somewhat harmful,” the survey found.

The online poll was conducted in August and September with 165 employers that are

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Survey Finds Employers Remain Committed to Health Benefits, Focused on New Payment Strategies and Open to Government Reforms

National Alliance purchaser poll found caregiving benefits have tripled since COVID-19

WASHINGTON, Sept. 29, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Faced with record disruption in healthcare services and the economic downturn, employers are staying the course or accelerating (71% for 2021 and 63% for 2022) their health benefit strategies. These are among the findings of a survey of employers and other private purchasers of healthcare conducted by the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions (National Alliance) and its members.

National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions is the only nonprofit, purchaser-led organization with a national and regional structure dedicated to driving health and healthcare value across the country. (PRNewsfoto/National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions) (PRNewsfoto/National Alliance of Healthcare)National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions is the only nonprofit, purchaser-led organization with a national and regional structure dedicated to driving health and healthcare value across the country. (PRNewsfoto/National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions) (PRNewsfoto/National Alliance of Healthcare)
National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions is the only nonprofit, purchaser-led organization with a national and regional structure dedicated to driving health and healthcare value across the country. (PRNewsfoto/National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions) (PRNewsfoto/National Alliance of Healthcare)

When asked about their impression of health reforms related to their organization’s health benefit strategies, employers are open to a myriad of potential reforms with the majority indicating drug price regulation (94%), hospital price transparency

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Imagine Health Partners with Tenet Healthcare to Lower Cost of Healthcare for South Florida Employers

Imagine Health and Tenet Healthcare have partnered to expand access to a new type of health plan throughout South Florida. Through direct contracting and built-in price protection, the Imagine Health plan will cut costs and provide direct access to high-quality care for self-insured employers and employees in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties.

Through the relationship, self-funded employers and their employees can save as much as 20% on healthcare costs while gaining direct access to Tenet Healthcare’s 10 hospitals, including Palm Beach Children’s Hospital and two Level-1 trauma centers; eight ambulatory surgical centers; 20 urgent cares; and hundreds of primary care physicians and specialists throughout the region. An experienced Imagine Health member advocacy team will provide care navigation services, ensuring members get the most out of their health plan.

“In Florida, health insurance premiums rose 60% over the past 10 years, continuing a decades-long ballooning of healthcare costs nationwide,” said

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‘Take Home’ Lawsuits Over COVID Infections Could Be Costly for U.S. Employers | Top News

(Reuters) – U.S. businesses with COVID-19 outbreaks are facing an emerging legal threat from claims that workers brought coronavirus home and infected relatives, which one risk analysis firm said could cost employers billions of dollars.

The daughter of Esperanza Ugalde of Illinois filed in August what lawyers believe is the first wrongful death “take home” lawsuit, alleging her mother died of COVID-19 that her father contracted at Aurora Packing Co’s meat processing plant.

    The cases borrow elements from “take home” asbestos litigation and avoid caps on liability for workplace injuries, exposing business to costly pain and suffering damages, even though the plaintiff never set foot on their premises.

“Businesses should be very concerned about these cases,” said labor and employment attorney Tom Gies of Crowell & Moring, which defends employers.

The lawsuit against Aurora alleges that Ricardo Ugalde worked “shoulder to shoulder” on the company’s processing line in April when

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