Utah ranks 51st in the United States in a national analysis of adult mental health, due to high rates of mental illness and low access to care. The ratio of mental health professionals to residents falls beneath the national average and over half of the adults with a mental illness do not receive treatment or counseling. The prevalence of mental health disorders among children is over 20%, and as of 2017, suicide is the leading cause of death for Utahns between the ages of 10 and 24. This data highlights the need for increased and improved mental health services for youth as well as adults.
About 61% of Utahns purchase health insurance through employers. This is the highest in the nation and significantly higher than the U.S. average of 49%. As such, Utah’s employers can play a larger role in the future of our state’s health care system and promote greater flexibility and control in costs.
A report investigating median out-of-pocket spending on medical expenses per state between 2016-2017 showed that Utahns spent significantly more than the average American for their care and prescription drugs. Between 2012 and 2017, the average annual cost of brand name prescription drug treatment in Utah increased by 58%. Private sector innovation and drug pricing transparency laws, which require drug companies to disclose price increases in advance, will be critical steps for greater transparency and affordability.