Payers and employers often have a blind spot when it comes to addressing inequities in behavioral health. Still, ignoring mental health care inequities can increase overall health care costs.
An analysis from Deloitte suggested that inequities have led to $320 billion in annual health care spending – “signaling an unsustainable crisis for the industry.”
That figure is expected to worsen.
The U.S.’s spending on health inequities could balloon to $1 trillion by 2040 if current trends continue, according to Deloitte. The average American’s cost of health care would shoot to $3,000 annually, up from the current cost of $1,000 each year.
Women, young people and the BIPOC community are more likely to experience a behavioral health issue, according to a data brief from Optum Behavioral Health Solutions. Health disparities can lead to premature death and sickness, disproportionately impacting people of color and poor people.
The mental health field is susceptible to racial, ethnic and socioeconomic disparities. For example, Black adults were 2.2 times more likely to have substance use disorder compared to Asian adults in 2021. Inequities are further compounded by stigma and lack of accessible therapies or awareness.