Leading US company to offer staff psychedelic therapy as employee healthcare benefit

Top-selling natural brand of soap, Dr. Bronner’s, partners with pioneering health plan administrator, enthea, to provide psychedelic therapy to promote mental health

Dr. Bronner’s, family-owned maker of the top-selling natural brand of soap in North America, has expanded its mental healthcare benefits to include Ketamine Assisted Therapy, as a first step in providing access to Psychedelic Assisted Therapy to employees to promote mental health. This innovative benefit plan is administered by Enthea, a non-profit healthcare organization responsible for medical policy development, provider network management, and benefit plan administration. Enthea establishes high ‘quality of care’ standards for the treatments offered, including credentialing and managing a network of specialty providers.

Dr. Bronner’s and Enthea have partnered over a shared belief that Psychedelic Assisted Therapies are highly effective for the treatment of many kinds of mental health problems and should be accepted into standard mental healthcare as soon as possible. The two companies believe there is significant potential for these novel treatments to heal and save lives. Under the banner of “Heal Soul”, Dr. Bronner’s has supported numerous public education efforts, advocacy organizations, and political campaigns around the country working to advance the acceptance and availability of psychedelic assisted therapy and medicines to treat depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other conditions.

“The health and well-being of our employees is the primary driver in how we think about benefits and compensation. Offering coverage for Ketamine Assisted Therapy is in the interest of providing tools to our workforce to have the best quality of life and best options for mental health care,” explains Michael Bronner, President of Dr. Bronner’s. “Our family and company are no strangers to depression and anxiety. We are deeply concerned about the mental health crisis society is facing, especially in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. Considering all our advocacy on this issue, this employee benefit is the next logical step,” Bronner continued.

Coverage for Dr. Bronner’s employees began on January 1, 2022. The initial health benefit offers ketamine medicine sessions integrated with specialized counseling services to improve mental health conditions. Ketamine is currently the only legal prescription drug with well-known psychedelic effects and ample efficacy data for mental health treatment. After FDA approval, Enthea will administer coverage for MDMA Assisted Therapy and Psilocybin Assisted Therapy.

“We are particularly proud of this unique partnership and we applaud Dr. Bronner’s for showing the way for other companies,” says Lia Mix, CEO of Enthea. “Psychedelic Assisted Therapy holds tremendous promise for addressing our society’s mental health crisis and improving workforce well-being. At Enthea, we aim to promote ‘Healing from Within.’ This complements Dr. Bronner’s All-One mission, which it demonstrates by treating employees like family in providing exceptional benefits like Ketamine Assisted Therapy. High-performing and forward-thinking companies know the importance of employee mental health. We also see the best talent attracted to companies with next-generation benefits like the one implemented by Dr. Bronner’s. We anticipate both human and financial return on these organizations’ investment in covering psychedelic healthcare,” Mix concluded.

Ketamine, widely used in modern medicine, is an anesthetic known to have dissociative effects when used in sub-anesthetic doses. Approved by the FDA in 1970, Ketamine has been widely and safely used in a range of clinical settings for more than half a century. More recently, a growing body of research has found that sub-anesthetic doses of ketamine may be effective to treat a variety of mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety. Bolstered by a growing body of research that was initiated by the National Institute of Mental Health, ketamine clinics and clinicians have recently begun to proliferate across the United States, offering ketamine sessions for a range of psychiatric disorders either using ketamine-only treatments or ketamine in conjunction with psychotherapy (i.e., Ketamine Assisted Therapy).

“The effectiveness of Ketamine Assisted Therapy has been demonstrated through multiple research studies and more than twenty years of accumulated clinical experience," says Dan Rome, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Enthea. "Numerous studies show that, among individuals with chronic health conditions, those who also suffer from mental health disorders are two to three times more costly to the healthcare system than those without. Our society is in dire need of more effective treatments for mental health conditions, to reduce human suffering as well as the economic toll on our overburdened health care system,” Rome remarked.

Mental health conditions and substance use disorders impact 970 million people worldwide and 72 million people in the US, where mental illness has reached epidemic levels. Ketamine Assisted Therapy offers a promising new option for treatment, especially for those suffering from depression. Unfortunately, more than a third of patients receiving standard pharmacological treatments for depression report no improvement for these therapies. Given these sobering statistics, effective, evidence-based treatments such as Ketamine Assisted Therapy and other psychedelic assisted therapies, namely MDMA and psilocybin, offer tremendous potential in addressing the mental health crisis.

Dr. Bronner’s employee benefits are core to how the company models its All-One mission. The company caps the total compensation of the highest-paid executives at five times that of the lowest-paid fully vested position. There is no difference between the benefits offered to company leadership and those offered to every single benefit-eligible employee. All employees receive 10% of their salary paid annually into a retirement/profit-sharing plan, up to 10% of their salary as a bonus, and a no-deductible PPO health insurance plan for their families—paying the complete health premium and all deductibles so there’s no out-of-pocket cost for employees. Providing access to Ketamine Assisted Therapy through this new partnership with Enthea is yet another offering intended to increase quality of life for Dr. Bronner’s employees.

“We strive to effect positive change in all our spheres of influence. The well-being of our employees is paramount to our company culture. We also know from experience that offering strong benefits helps with employee retention and recruitment. We hope to inspire and be a model for other companies and organizations to also partner with Enthea and offer this potentially lifesaving benefit to their staff,” says David Bronner, Cosmic Engagement Officer (CEO) of Dr. Bronner’s and Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) board member. “As other psychedelic assisted therapies become available, we look forward to adding benefits for those as well,” David Bronner concluded.