Behavioral Health Challenges on Campus

Being away from home for the first time, access and personal decisions about alcohol and drugs, financial concerns and the rigorous demands of academic life can all lead to anxiety and depression. For an increasing number of students, college can feel like a pressure cooker.

Anxiety and depression rates sky rocket over the past two decades
According to a TIME magazine article, students have greater levels of stress and psychopathology than any time in our nation’s history. Between 2009 and 2015, the number of students visiting counseling centers increased by 30% on average, while enrollment grew by less than 6%. In spring 2017, nearly 40% of college students said they felt so depressed in the prior year that it was difficult for them to function, and 61% of students said they’d experienced overwhelming anxiety, according to an American College Health Association* survey, of more than 63,000 students at 92 schools. Combine these serious stats with various forms of learning disabilities (ADHD), substance abuse, sleep deprivation or eating disorders, and the overall picture is clear: today’s college students face serious behavioral and mental health challenges.

High stigma environment
The college behavioral health situation has ramifications that are difficult to overstate for late adolescent and early adult populations. Unfortunately, on campus there is often a stigma toward those seeking behavioral health treatment, leading to less treatment-seeking behavior by students. When you combine this to limited access to professional counseling services, getting treatment can be challenging.

Solutions for a growing behavioral health problem
Virtual care has opened new options for behavioral health treatment, helping to eliminate long wait times caused by rising demand. And, virtual visits are convenient — no worries about transportation or traffic. Regardless of location, students can feel more comfortable getting behavioral health services in the privacy of their dorm room or home. Virtual visits make it easier to fit therapy into a busy schedule while eliminating the obstacles associated with in-person visits.

It all starts with knowing that virtual options exist for behavioral health. Getting to an appointment is as easy as pulling out your smartphone or a laptop and logging into a secure videoconference portal. For more information on virtual care, visit https://www.togetherhealthnetwork.org/virtualcaremi/.

*ACHA represents over 1,100 higher education institutions for the collective health and wellness needs of 10 million college students.

Why more employers offer virtual healthcare for their employees

Not so long ago, many mid-sized and large employers paid to have limited medical services on-site. Today, with virtually enabled health services, almost any business owner, small or large, can offer easy, convenient and consistent access to Ascension or Trinity Health care providers.

Virtually enabled healthcare facilitates 24/7 consultations with medical services via a computer, smartphone or other mobile device. It allows employees and employers easier access to healthcare services, when and where they need them. And, for areas where options to visit a primary care provider are limited, this can be a huge plus.

Advantages to an employer offering virtual care for their employees include:

Costs – virtual visit charges are known upfront. Lower out-of-pocket costs (approximately $49 per virtual visit versus five to six times that amount for most ER or urgent care visits) can be covered by the employer’s health insurance plan, reimbursed by the employer or paid out of pocket by employees. Employers offering virtual care tend to see a reduction in costs per employee primarily by shifting many urgent care or emergency room visits to a video visit.

Reduced absenteeism – business owners offering virtual care services are likely to see less time required by employees for healthcare visits since virtual care visits can be on-demand, allowing for greater convenience. Employees also don’t require extensive time away from work for treating many common ailments such as colds or flu.

Convenience – a virtual visit may take as little as 5 to 10 minutes and can be done from home or elsewhere 24/7 instead of traveling to a physician’s office or clinic and waiting to be seen.

Employee satisfaction – Healthier employees have increased job satisfaction, which contributes to employee retention. That can also result in lower absentee rates that typically translate into higher productivity for employers.

Competitive benefits – offering virtual care enables employers to stay competitive and attract new talent by creating a workplace that offers improved work/life balance while clearly demonstrating concern for employee health and welfare.

Virtually enabled healthcare is an inevitable and emerging trend in health service delivery. If your company is ready and would like to find out more, click here https://www.togetherhealthnetwork.org/virtualcaremi/ or call 248-286-4401 to speak with one of our staff.

Breaking down the healthcare benefits and what you need to know before signing up

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WXYZ) – It’s open enrollment season and that time of year when most people are signing up for their annual health coverage at work. However, making the right choice for coverage is not always easy.

In fact, some people are totally confused about what’s best for them as individuals or for their families. If you’re pulling your hair out as you sit down and try to sign up for your healthcare, you’re not alone.

Melody Khemmoro, 20, is like a lot of people in metro Detroit. She’s confused about open enrollment and only needs individual coverage.

Action News’ Carolyn Clifford asked Khemmoro what she was looking for in her plan.

Khemmoro explained that she’s looking for what best fits her when it comes to her deductibles and co-pays.

“So, do you even know your deductible,” Carolyn Clifford asks.

Khemmoro responded: “I know it’s very high!”

Scott Eathorne is a family physician with Ascension Providence. He’s also the President and CEO of Together Health Network.

“It really starts with what your needs are, whether individual or part of a family,” Eathorne said.

He says to consider three important things when picking your healthcare plan:

Are you generally healthy and only go to the doctor for your annual checkup, preventive health services or minor ailments?
Do you anticipate a lot of expenses from surgery, or if a family member has been ill? If there are conditions that are chronic conditions, it might lead to more frequent care. You’re really going to want to make sure those conditions are covered.
Consider your co-pay price. For instance, if your company will pay 80 percent and you pay 20 percent – does that work for your budget?
“Complexity of these plans is so significant and that’s why it’s so important to spend the time to really understand what those benefits are,” Eathorne said.

Other options to consider are flexible spending verses health savings accounts. The first must be used within a year on qualifying expenses, whereas health savings accounts you can think of as a savings plan. The money rolls over year to year and if you change jobs it goes with you.

If you’re lucky, a company expert will walk you through your options. Often, the Human Resources Department for larger organizations will provide some of that information. Sometimes it’s information you understand and often you can’t make heads or tails of it.

It’s smart either way to have money in the bank to cover healthcare costs, because it’s the leading cause of personal bankruptcies.

Rachel Adams is a 26-year-old child care worker with no company healthcare and worries what kind of healthcare is affordable, but also dependable.

There is a market exchange that may work for Adams. She can go to healthcare.gov and create an account. The website will walk you through steps for a variety of plans.

Sign up will end Dec. 15, 2018.

For those who really can’t afford health insurance and land in the emergency room repeatedly, help is available. There are services offered by local hospitals or some other health provider in the spirit of a community health fair. Look to your community churches and local organizations for upcoming events.

Finally, be aware there are changes in legislation that allows some insurers to sell products that are very affordable with deep discounts but may cover very little. Though, the lowest cost product isn’t necessarily the best and may not provide the coverage you need.

Remember to do your homework and check out all of your options before you choose your healthcare.

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