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Enthea-Bringing Psychedelic Assisted Treatment to Employers

The Driver:

Enthea, one of the first of its kind to offer psychedelic healthcare insurance plans, recently raised $2 million in its seed round. The round was led by Tabula Rasa Ventures with participation from Mystic Ventures and Mike Cotton, former Meridian Capital group executive. The funding will be used to help expand and launch Enthea’s services into 40 cities across America by the end of 2023. In addition, part of the funding will be used to help patients access and acquire psychedelic health care since it is not currently covered by standard employer-based insurance and thus is only available through self-pay.

The funding is expected to expand the market as well as the patient base. It will also help to increase education and health benefits for many who are suffering from various mental health disorders, allowing (alternative and possibly more effective) treatments for many who would normally be unable to afford them.

Key Takeaways:

  • 50 million adult Americans are suffering from a mental health illness (~ 20% of the population) with 5% of American adults experiencing a severe mental health illness (Mental Health America)

  • Ketamine is currently approved for off-label use in treatment-resistant depression, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, PTSD, and substance use disorder, among others (Axios)

  • 46% of psychologists reported seeing more adolescents from the ages of 13-17 since the COVID pandemic (American Psychology Association)

  • 11.4 million Americans or approximately 5% of adults experienced suicidal thoughts in 2022 and Suicidal thoughts have been on a steady increase each year since 2011-2012 (Mental Health America)

The Story:

Enthea was founded by CEO and co-founder Sherry Rais, along with co-founders Joshua Barber, Dan Rome, and Keith Lietzke. According to founder Sherry Rais, Enthea’s mission is to help millions of people obtain expansive, easy, and inexpensive access to psychedelic-assisted therapy (PAT) for issues including treatment-resistant depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a novel approach highlighted by emerging research as an effective and evidence-based alternative therapy.., Enthea’s mission it to be “all in'' to provide a service that represents what they refer to as their JEDI values - which stand for Justice, Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity. Initially founded as a not-for-profit company in 2022, Enthea experienced financial difficulties and decided to rebrand as an employer benefit company based on the growing interest from employers for this innovative therapy. Since the rebranding, the company has been able to get the financial backing needed to meet employer demand, as evidenced by the recent fundraising.

The Differentiator:

Enthea is a pioneer as the first health insurance provider to offer benefits for psychedelic healthcare. They gained notoriety after Dr. Bronner’s, a natural soap brand became among the first U.S. based employers to offer coverage of psychedelic treatments. Dr. Bronner’s decided to add to their mental healthcare insurance plan and offer ketamine-assisted psychotherapy for its employees to help promote mental health awareness and access.

According to the company, Enthea provides a turn-key operation that makes it easy for employers to include treatments as part of their health care coverage to employees and their families. Its plans currently cover ketamine-assisted therapy [and the company plans to add]; MDMA- and psilocybin-assisted therapies…as they become FDA-approved in the next several years.” As noted by Forbes, since access to psychedelic-assisted therapy (PAT) is not covered by traditional employer-based insurance plans, treatments have largely been reserved for patients with the financial resources to pay for it out of pocket. Enthea makes these treatments more affordable and accessible by offering standardized, evidence-based care available through specialty providers in its network. As noted by the company, Enthea has developed several core competencies that include:

  • Evidence-based medical policies for psychedelic therapies that are regularly updated based on clinical developments and FDA approvals.

  • Standards of care and credentials across the Enthea Provider Network to assure quality, positive patient experiences, and positive treatment outcomes.

  • Easy treatment authorization and reimbursements to providers, while shielding employers from Protected Health Information.

  • A range of customizable options based on the company's business and personnel needs.

Starting at the beginning of 2023, Enthea will offer services in New York City, Austin, Texas, and the Bay Area in California and plans to have services within 20 markets by mid-2023 with a goal of having 40 markets up and running by year-end 2023.

The Big Picture:

With almost 20% of the adults in the U.S. experiencing a mental illness, equivalent to nearly 50 million Americans and approximately 5% of U.S adults experiencing severe mental illness, it is clear there is a need for additional sources of affordable, convenient mental health treatments across the country. For example, the incidence of adult mental illness ranges from a high of approximately 27% in New Jersey to a low of 16% in Utah.

Psychedelic treatments and Enthea, are providing an additional treatment option for the large population of Americans who require mental health services, a great number of whom have not found success with traditional therapies. Adding ketamine-based psychotherapy to employers' health-based insurance plans for patients is an important way to provide evidence-based, affordable treatment to employees. In addition, Enthea may increase the likelihood of attracting the younger generation who are more likely to look for employers that are providing extensive and innovative benefit packages. With emerging research and approvals, psychedelic treatment will just be one more option that can address the mental health crisis in America and reduce the 50% non-treatment rate.


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