Mental Health Care & The Insurance Industry

Posted on
June 19, 2022

Mood disorders (ex. Depression, bipolar) are the 3rd most common cause of hospitalization in the U.S. for people under 45. 

  • 1 in 5 U.S. adults experiences mental illness each year.
  • 1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year.
  • 50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24.
  • The suicide rate for those aged 10-14 have increased by 3X from 2007 to 2017.
  • Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10-34. 

The recent spike in youth suicide is part of a broader public health crisis. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 17.3 million Americans had at least one major depressive episode in 2017. The nation's suicide rate has jumped 33% since 1999. And the rate of death from drug overdose rose by nearly 10% between 2016 and 2017.

The rise in suicides and drug overdoses have contributed to a three-year decline in U.S. life expectancy—the most prolonged decline in a century. 

It is now crystal clear that similar to any physical illness, mental illness can lead to harmful consequences. When untreated, lifestyle changes due to mental illness can also lead to physical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and stroke—resulting in the need for even more treatment and expensive care. 

The Cost of Poor Mental Health On Insurance Providers

Increase in cost of mental health care 

Given the state of the world, as mental health worsens, the cost associated with diagnosing and treating different conditions increases. For example, direct medical expenditure for anxiety disorders alone has been estimated at $34 billion annually

Depressive disorders were the sixth-most-costly health condition overall, behind diabetes, heart disease, low back and neck pain, hypertension, and injuries due to falls. $71 billion is spent on treating depressive disorders—the most costly among mental health and substance abuse disorders.

Mood disorders, in general, are also associated with relatively high readmission rates, further taxing the already limited availability of inpatient mental health treatment. Within 30 days, 15 percent of patients with mood disorders are readmitted nationally. Across the U.S., the average cost for a repeated hospital stay is approximately $7,200.

Increase in suicide and cost of care

The national cost of suicides and suicide attempts in the United States in 2013 was $58.4 billion. Due to the rise in suicide over the last decade, that cost has also increased. 

10%–15% of patients who engage in medically serious suicide attempts will die by suicide within ten years if preventative care and support are not provided.

Approximately 14% of individuals who make medically serious suicide attempts are readmitted to the hospital for another suicide attempt within one year. Their cumulative risk of readmission for a suicide attempt after an index suicide attempt is 28.1% over ten years. 

Increase physical health issues and cost of care  

Not treating behavioral health conditions can lead to other health care costs, such as the costs of emergency care for an overdose. 

Mental health issues are also directly tied to increased heart attacks and strokes. Depression is directly tied to chronic illnesses like diabetes, asthma, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and arthritis. In 2016, the total costs in the U.S. for direct health care treatment for chronic health conditions totaled $1.1 trillion—equivalent to nearly six percent of the nation's GDP. 

Mental Health Care with Tess for Insurance Providers 

There is hope. For every $1 invested in treating depression and anxiety, there is a $4 return for the economy. That's where Tess comes in. 

Tess's engine provides insurance providers and their customers with an affordable, scalable, and proven mental wellness program via text messaging. 

Tess enables insurance providers to address mental health at scale and meet their customers' needs regarding their overall well-being. 

Insurers can also use the data collected by Tess to measure impact, tailor programs for each customer, and validate overall growth strategies. 

Insurers with Tess can ultimately drive down the cost of care, maximize the bottom-line, and save millions of lives in the process. 

With Tess, insurance providers are able to:

  • Differentiate themselves in the mental health care space by increasing equitable access and providing a low-cost, personalized, and scalable solution that is available 24/7. 
  • Deploy Tess to thousands of people with a phone number and a click of a button. No app installs or account creation is required. 
  • Reduce the cost of care through Tess’  artificial intelligence engine, scientifically proven to reduce depression and anxiety.
  • Address the needs of all demographics, including those in lower-income groups and living in rural areas. 
  • Increase customer engagement and promote overall well-being by triaging specific resources and programs at the right moments. 
  • Further, scale mental health support by tapping into Tess’ 5,000 certified counselors network available on-demand in all 50 states.
  • Track impact, tailor customer care, and better align resources with critical strategies by reviewing customer data collected via health assessment intakes and Tess's engagement metrics. 

Success Story

In collaboration with AARP, Tess has supported 160K low-income seniors leading to significant reductions in symptoms of social isolation with an estimated reduction of $4M in spend. 

A Proven Solution

Covering over 30 million people globally, Tess has been scientifically proven to reduce anxiety by 18% and depression by 28%, leading to a profound impact on overall health. 

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