Panel Releases Recommendation for Anxiety Screening in Adults

From: Health Care Reform

Panel Releases Recommendation for Anxiety Screening in Adults

Legal Update

Panel Releases Recommendation for Anxiety Screening in Adults

On Sept. 20, 2022, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (PSTF) released a draft recommendation for anxiety screening in adults younger than age 65. This follows the PSTF’s draft recommendation from April 12, 2022, which endorsed anxiety screening in children ages 8 to 18. These recommendations highlight the increased focus on mental health treatment and support in the United States over the past few years.

Anxiety Screening Recommendation

Although anxiety disorders are relatively common, they are often overlooked in primary care settings. According to the PSTF, routine screening, if effective, could “substantially increase the likelihood that patients receive treatment in a timely manner, potentially saving years of suffering and reducing economic burden.” The PSTF also recommends depression screening for adults and children, consistent with its final guidelines from 2016. This screening involves administering a brief questionnaire to determine whether patients have been experiencing mental health symptoms.

Impact on Health Plan Coverage

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires most health plans and health insurance issuers to provide coverage for certain preventive care services without any cost sharing (including deductibles, copays or coinsurance). These preventive care services include evidence-based items or services that have a rating of “A” or “B” in the PSTF’s current recommendations.

The PSTF’s draft recommendations regarding anxiety screening in adults and children have “B” ratings, which means health plans and issuers will be required to cover these services without cost sharing if they are finalized. In general, plans and issuers have at least one year from when a final recommendation is issued to provide first-dollar coverage for the services listed in the recommendation.