America's first psychedelic healthcare provider just announced a new insurance plan designed to help people afford the exorbitant costs of psychedelic-assisted therapy.
Starting next year, licensed health insurance benefits provider Enthea will give employers a new option to add psychedelic therapy coverage to their employee benefits packages. The company plans to launch its services in Austin, New York City, and San Francisco in January. By the middle of next year, the company hopes to expand to another 20 major cities, and to 20 more by the end of 2023.
At present, the company will only cover the costs of ketamine-assisted therapy, which is the only psychedelic treatment that is currently legal in the US. Dozens of ketamine clinics have sprung up across the country since the FDA legalized this therapy in 2019, but these clinics often charge anywhere from $400 to over $1000 for a single treatment. Relatively few health insurance providers will cover these costs, but Enthea's new program will cover them in full.
“Key to Enthea’s mission is to make psychedelic-assisted therapies affordable, accessible, and equitable for as many as possible through its Provider Network – so that it’s not only available to the affluent but to all who would benefit,” the company wrote in a press release. “Enthea provides a turn-key operation that makes it easy for employers to include these treatments as part of their health care coverage to employees and their families.”
Eventually, Enthea plans to cover both psilocybin- and MDMA-assisted therapy as well. But before they can do so, US law will need to catch up to science. Psilocybin and MDMA are still classified as Schedule I drugs with no medical value, but the FDA has now granted them Breakthrough Therapy status. This classification allows scientists to fast-track clinical research on these drugs, and the results have been so promising that one or both could become legal in 2023.
“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,” said Sherry Rais, the company’s CEO and co-founder, in a statement. “And as a workplace benefit, this treatment becomes affordable. Next year, most employers across the US will be able to offer these innovative treatments, covered under insurance, for the first time.”
Dr. Bronner's natural soap company added Enthea's ketamine-assisted therapy coverage to its employee benefits in January of this year. The partnership should come as no surprise, given that David Bronner, the company's CEO, is an outspoken advocate of psychedelic medicine. In 2020, Dr. Bronner's helped fund Oregon's successful effort to legalize psilocybin therapy, and this year, the company supported Colorado's winning campaign to legalize shrooms and decriminalize other natural psychedelics.
“Many members of the All-One family at Dr. Bronner’s who have been struggling with mental health challenges have availed themselves of ketamine-assisted therapy, and have relayed their deep heartfelt thanks for the incredible healing impact it has made,” said Bronner in a press release. “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!”
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