How Employee Benefit Programs, Including Health Insurance and Employee Assistance Programs, Can Help Employees Recover From Addiction

Last year, the Department of Labor (DOL) stepped up enforcement of mental health parity requirements for group health plans. This represents a growing effort to ensure that group health plans are in compliance with the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA). In fiscal year 2016, the DOL investigated 330 health-care plans finding dozens of violations—with most of the related to how  plans handle non-quantitative treatment limits (NQTLs).

If your organization’s group health plan covers mental health and substance abuse disorders (MH/SUD), there are specific financial parity requirements the plans must meet concerning things like copays and deductibles. Also, parity is required concerning benefit limitations affecting the scope or duration of treatment. In total, there are six categories of benefits where parity between MH/SUD and medical/surgical coverage must be demonstrated. This session will examine final MHPAEA rule requirements and the most common compliance trouble spots to watch out for, as well as practical strategies on how employee assistance plans can be used to help addicted workers on the road to recovery.

You’ll learn:

  • The most common ways MHPAEA violations occur with respect to NQTLs for substance abuse
  • Key questions to ask, so you can evaluate whether your company is at high risk
  • Potentially problematic healthcare plan treatment limits, including practices that deal with intensive outpatient programs for substance abuse treatment
  • When your employee assistance plan (EAP) offerings are covered under the MHPAEA, and when they aren’t
  • Useful strategies for getting employees to take advantage of EAP plan offerings that can help them manage substance abuse-related issues
  • How much substance abuse costs employers in terms of lost productivity time and absenteeism—and the business case for making substance abuse assistance offerings part of your benefits package
  • Communication strategies for talking to employees you are concerned may need professional help due to addiction