November 29, 2023

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How a Good Health Plan Can Improve Employee Mental Health

Employee mental health has been a hot topic since the onset of COVID. It has become increasingly more important to the extent that more employers are seriously looking at adding mental health benefits to their employee packages. A good plan with solid benefits can go a long way toward improving employee mental health across the board.

According to the CDC, just over 18% of the U.S. adult population has reported some sort of mental illness. Above and beyond mental illness, 71% report experiencing physical symptoms of stress. The data clearly reveals that Americans are stressed and anxious about a lot.

Stressed About Health Coverage

Although adding mental health benefits to an employer’s benefits package can make a difference, there is no shortage of employees whose mental health struggles are related to not having any kind of health plan at all. Though this particular group of Americans is in the minority, they still exist.

Not having any type of health plan can lead to:

  • Financial Anxiety – With the cost of healthcare services as high as it is, not having access to an employer-sponsored health plan can lead to financial anxiety. People without health plans wonder how they will make ends meet in the event of an illness or injury they need to cover out-of-pocket.
  • Stress Over Health – Additionally, not having access to a health plan can lead people to stress over the actual state of their health. They know they are not getting the healthcare services they need, so they stress about the long-term ramifications of their reality.
  • Fear of the Future – A fear of the future is common among people without health coverage. Every medical bill reminds them that their future finances could be in jeopardy. Every illness raises questions about long-term health.

If your company does not offer a health plan because you are not required to under the ACA, do your employees at least know how to get coverage through federal and state exchanges? Similarly, do some of your employees get their coverage through an exchange because your plan is deemed unaffordable?

Under either scenario, not having coverage through either an employer-sponsored or marketplace plan could be causing your employees undue stress and anxiety. Finding a way to give them a plan could go a long way toward alleviating the stress.

A Plan with Mental Health Benefits

A low-cost alternative to traditional health insurance is a self-funded plan administered by a third party administrator (TPA) like Nevada’s StarMed ( Based in Las Vegas, StarMed works with employers of all sizes across a variety of industries, offering more affordable plans that save both companies and their employees money.

Whether your company opts for self-funding or a fully funded health plan, consider adding mental health benefits. They can be offered through any number of options including on-site services, off-site services, education, etc.

A typical plan might include a limited number of on-site services including mental health consulting and wellness activities designed to reduce stress. It could also include free or reduced-cost access to off-site mental health counseling and educational resources.

Investing in Mental Health Benefits Is Worth It

Employers tend to offer benefits packages as a way to enhance their recruiting and retention efforts. The one exception is health coverage, thanks to the ACA. Now that most companies are required to offer plans that meet minimal essential coverage (MEC) standards, it is time for employers to start considering how they can make their MEC plans better. Adding mental health benefits fits the bill. They are worth investing in, from the perspectives of both employer and employee.