Local Insurance Company Leads the Way with Telehealth Offering
Madison, WI—WEA Trust, a local not-for-profit insurance company, is launching the first independent video telehealth platform for mental health in Wisconsin on July 1. According to Mental Health America, Wisconsin has some of the highest prevalence of mental illness in the country, ranking 48th nationally. Additionally, The State of Wisconsin Department of Health Services estimates that only 50% of Wisconsin adults with a mental illness access treatment for their condition.
“We solely insure the public sector paid for by tax payers and when we look at our book of business, antidepressants are the #1 prescription written across the board—outweighing cholesterol, blood pressure, and even antibiotic medications” said Dr. Tim Bartholow, WEA Trust Vice President and Chief Medical Officer. “With this amount of antidepressant medication, we expect to see more therapy which is known to be critical in some care. Despite the efforts of our providers, it’s obvious that the Wisconsin public sector isn’t getting the care that they need.”
Mental health conditions, and specifically depression, often go untreated for two reasons—stigma and access. To educate the public about these barriers and start the conversation about mental health in the public sector, WEA Trust created a unique, experiential event, allowing business managers, insurance coordinators and other school and municipal leaders across the state to step into the shoes of someone suffering with a mental health condition in Wisconsin.
“The mental health journey exhibit was a very moving experience, said Lindsay Wallace, the National Alliance on Mental Illness Executive Director. “Following an individual's story as they struggled to access mental health care reminded me of our ultimate responsibility as leaders to take care of the people who work for us.”
“The entire experience reaffirmed my commitment to building a culture of acceptance within my workplace, ensuring that no person fears being stigmatized or judged for seeking help. I was truly honored to be part of this exhibit and as the Executive Director of NAMI Dane County, I look forward to building and strengthening our relationship with WEA Trust as they embark on this important initiative.”
It’s not unusual for those working in the public sector to place the focus on their students or the citizens that they serve. WEA Trust is flipping the narrative, urging these workers to think about themselves and put their health needs first. By prioritizing personal and mental health, workers are able to do a better job and employers will have happier and healthier employees.
At WEA Trust, we think it’s time that insurance companies address the issues that are truly affecting Wisconsin citizens. Beginning in July, WEA Trust is launching the first Wisconsin-based online talk therapy platform, Amwell Behavioral Health. Our membership will be able to access therapy appointments through their smartphone, tablet, or computer, in and outside of traditional business hours. Therapy visits are available within days of scheduling rather than weeks, and members on a traditional health plan will have a $0 co-pay. With busy schedules and tight pocket books, it’s time that healthcare works with you, not against.