Psychedelic-assisted therapy is gaining more momentum throughout the U.S., with legalization in Oregon and Washington and many other states considering its approval in their upcoming ballots. This therapeutic approach offers a new opportunity for individuals seeking novel treatment options for mental health conditions such as major depressive disorder, substance use disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
While this mental health treatment approach can offer life-altering relief for many, it comes with a considerable cost. A single session of ketamine-assisted therapy costs around $400 to $800. Psilocybin-assisted therapy can run from anywhere between $1,000 to $2000 per session, while MDMA therapy can be even pricer, costing around $3,000 to $5,000 per session. Usually, a minimum of at least three sessions are recommended for effective symptom management. Due to such high rates, psychedelic healthcare is not very accessible for out-of-pocket pay. And unfortunately, since psychedelic medicine is a relatively new field in mental healthcare, your typical health insurance provider isn’t likely to include it on its coverage list. However, there’s an exception—Enthea, which offers coverage for this non-traditional form of therapy.
Enthea is a licensed third-party administrator (TPA) of health insurance plans that covers psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy as a workplace benefit. The Boston-based startup is the first and only insurance provider that offers benefit plans for ketamine therapy. Enthea’s mission is to expedite health insurance coverage for psychedelic treatments, giving patients equal access to affordable, high-quality care and speedy reimbursements. “Through the creation of the country’s first psychedelic healthcare provider network, Enthea is taking a big step in creating access to these new, evidence-based healing options,” Sherry Rais, CEO and co-founder of Enthea, tells Businesswire.
Although Enthea is a newer company, its health coverage plans are growing in popularity as the next generation of healthcare benefits. When Enthea first began in 2019, it planned to be a nonprofit organization “to protect policy and procedure from money,” according to Enthea co-founder and chief growth officer Joshua Barber. Unfortunately, the company “saw quickly that a nonprofit couldn’t raise enough money through philanthropy.” However, Enthea received a successful $2 million seed round of investment funding last year, led by Tabula Rasa Venture, the first venture capital firm dedicated to supporting early-stage psychedelic startups. They have also partnered with the natural soap brand Dr. Bronner’s, making them the first employer ever to add ketamine therapy to its pre-existing health insurance plans. David Bronner, CEO of Dr. Bronner’s, is an avid supporter of psychedelic therapy and claims that ketamine therapy has helped many of his employees with their mental health challenges. 7% of Bronner’s employees received a ketamine-assisted psychotherapy regimen and reported a significant reduction in their symptoms and increased mental health wellness. “Enthea makes the experience seamless for our staff as well as on our side, and I can’t recommend them highly enough. May all who are in need benefit from this healing medicine and therapy!” reported Bronner.
Following the raving reviews from Dr. Bronner’s successful rollout of Enthea ketamine therapy coverage, around 50 companies have signed letters of interest expressing their consideration to offer psychedelic therapy through Enthea.
Enthea plans to add MDMA-assisted therapy and psilocybin-assisted therapy as soon as they become FDA-approved, which could be within the next few years. Until then, they plan to continue expanding their business to provide affordable psychedelic therapy to workplaces all across the U.S.
Based on recent polls, about 19% of U.S. workers rate their mental health as fair or poor, and these employees have about four times the amount of unplanned absences due to their mental health. Furthermore, less than one in four American employees believe that their workplace cares about their well-being, marking the lowest percentage in nearly ten years. Those who feel like their employer is genuinely concerned for their physical and mental health are 69% less likely to actively seek alternative job opportunities, while 71% are less likely to experience severe burnout.
Although some employers offer standard mental healthcare benefits such as counseling services, traditional medication coverage, and telehealth, these treatments are not always the most effective options, especially for those struggling with severe mental health concerns.
According to Enthea, a third of the patients who receive antidepressant medication and therapy get no benefits from treatment, while many others may only get minimal relief of their symptoms with the risk of various side effects. This form of treatment can cost around $10,600 a year and requires years of treatment to manage. In comparison, the one-time cost, 3-month treatment cycle of ketamine therapy is a fast treatment option for several mental health conditions with limited adverse effects. A TPA like Enthea can be layered with existing healthcare plans giving employees access to effective mental health treatments like ketamine therapy for as little as $35 per employee annually.
Likewise, psilocybin-assisted therapy and MDMA-assisted therapy has also demonstrated promising results compared to traditional mental health treatment. The FDA has granted both therapies breakthrough therapy designation because of their ability to treat certain mental illnesses more effectively than any other available treatments. This means that research into these therapies will be expedited and, if approved, available as a part of Enthea’s medical coverage.
Enthea claims that businesses incorporating psychedelic-assisted therapy in their health coverage can anticipate several positive results for their company. These include increased worker productivity, improved employee retention, lower turnover rates, and decreased medical costs. Moreover, organizations that offer these benefits might draw in younger professionals who are gravitated toward employers with progressive and extensive medical benefits.
In the coming years, Enthea’s vision of expanding access to affordable psychedelic therapies could drastically shift how the U.S. prioritizes mental health treatment benefits, paving the way for a more holistic and extensive approach to mental health support in the workplace. This progressive approach offers hope to those seeking accessible and inexpensive psychedelic therapy as the treatment becomes more accepted and integrated into the future of mainstream healthcare.
For more information about Enthea and its ongoing support of psychedelic healthcare, visit enthea.com.