Title : The role of insurance in early intervention to improve outcomes in selected mental illnesses
Common mental disorders, comprised of both depressive and anxiety disorders, affect approximately 586million people globally (WHO, 2017). Given the stigma associated with mental disorders, as well as reliability in reporting and monitoring or conditions, this number could be significantly higher, before we even begin to consider less common disorders.
Public perception of insurance companies when it comes to mental health conditions is not positive. Insurance companies set an unreasonable bar for mental health coverage (Huffpost, 2018) and still don't treat mental illness like other medical conditions (LATimes, 2019). The Guardian recently looked at individual case studies of people with mental health conditions being refused access to insurance coverage, suggesting possible discrimination (The Guardian, 2018). In Asia Pacific, stigma of mental health sufferers means there is a significant barrier to treatment access with people facing inadequate insurance coverage (NCBI 2019).
Traditionally, insurers have been reactive in their coverage of mental health conditions. They have also been incredibly cautious, imposing restrictions such as limits on coverage in the event of recurrences and hoops to jump through in advance of any help, including pre- authorization.Prior authorization is not unique to mental health claims and can also be required for other medical or dental treatment, but it has been identified by Mind, the UK's leading mental health charity, as a barrier that was particularly inflexible for people looking for mental health treatment to be authorized. Insurance companies prior authorization endangers psychiatric care (City and State, 2017) as denials are particularly common for mental health care.
At the Swiss Re Institute, we're focused on research into human behavior and medical innovations that allow earlier identification of warning signals and better, earlier interventions to improve long term mental health outcomes.
We are working on identifying more cooperative and extensive solutions that look at keeping better for longer, which ultimately benefits both the individual and society.