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Health Insurance Providers Actions Concerning Mental Health


Published May 23, 2022 • by AHIP

  • AllWays Health Partners has teamed up with Lyra Health to offer a new solution to expand the availability of mental health support and counseling. Through Lyra, members will be able to seek clinically proven mental health support, find high-quality providers tailored to their individual needs, and book appointments quickly with a therapist or coach by video or in-person securely and confidentially. Lyra will be rolled out in phases beginning June 2022.

  • Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, through its Student Advantage health plans, has entered into an exclusive partnership with Christie Campus Health to help colleges and universities address escalating rates of anxiety and depression reported on campuses throughout the country. The 2 companies will provide a student-centered mental health platform that helps counseling centers meet the high demand for services. Christie Campus Health currently helps over 40 colleges and universities bring timely and accessible mental health and wellbeing support to more than 430,000 students. Christie Campus Health’s CONNECT@College product will allow Anthem Student Advantage to offer a comprehensive solution that focuses on both the physical and emotional wellbeing of today’s college student.

  • Anthem has launched a number of specific physical and mental health/substance use disorder (MH/SUD) health integrated care management and outreach programs utilizing predictive modeling related to comorbid conditions that include licensed clinicians and peer/wellness and recovery coaches. These programs include Cardiac Pain, Sleep Apnea, Predictive High Utilizing Alcohol and Opioid Users, and Suicide Prevention. Additionally, to meet the needs of members with complex conditions, Anthem created the High Outreach to Promote Engagement (HOPE) program. These populations have the highest rates of multiple chronic conditions and higher than average emergency room visits and inpatient admissions for both MH/SUD and physical health. Case managers in this program take a broad view of a patient’s whole health and assist consumers in a variety of ways, including providing transportation or coordinating doctor appointments. Anticipating and supporting member’s needs before and after they need medical care significantly improve member outcomes and lower healthcare costs. By anticipating and supporting members’ needs, Anthem has decreased major incidents such as ER visits and inpatient hospitalizations by 50%.

  • To respond to growing needs throughout its 72,000-square-mile footprint, Avera Health Plans opened a new four-story wing as part of its Avera Behavioral Health Hospital in Sioux Falls.

    The Helmsley Behavioral Health Center adds 60,000 more square feet of space for treating psychiatric needs among children, youth, and adults. This wing adds several new services including 24/7 Behavioral Health Urgent Care, observation care, youth addiction care services, and partial hospitalization for youth.

    The wing also will house Avera’s senior behavioral health unit, which is currently located on the Avera Prince of Peace campus. This will provide an opportunity to add to the continuity of mental health services while enhancing and expanding this program. In total, Avera Behavioral Health Hospital will have 146 inpatient behavioral health beds plus 8 addiction residential beds for adolescents – all private rooms.

  • Funding from Blue Shield of California’s BlueSky youth mental health initiative has let the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) California expand its On Campus High School clubs throughout the state, increasing membership from 1,051 in 2020 to 1,271 participants in 80 clubs across 16 counties in 2022. The clubs provide peer-led support for students with mental health conditions, students whose family members have a condition, or students who are interested in the field or in advocacy – all focused on the goal of reducing mental health stigma among youth.
  • The Health Care Service Corporation is providing access to an online self-service platform to help fill a gap for some untreated members who have been reluctant to seek care or had difficulty finding it. The platform, provided by an independent company called Learn to Live, offers around-the-clock mental health assessments and online cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for mild to moderate depression, substance use, social anxiety, insomnia, and stress, worry, and anxiety. It is available at no added cost to 11 million members, starting at 13 years of age, in most group health plans across its communities in Illinois, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.
  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana is becoming more strategic in coordinating access to life-saving behavioral health services for members throughout the state — particularly in its most isolated areas. BCBSMT launched Big Blue Sky Initiative in 2018 to help fight opioid abuse, rising suicide rates, and methamphetamine and heroin epidemics. The company also helped fund a new psychiatry residency to bring more mental health professionals to Montana, as well as other programs. To improve access, leaders are working with providers and policymakers to develop care models that will keep members closer to home and reduce obstacles to care, including expanded telehealth services. The effort is part of a larger initiative to create more medical and behavioral health access and better care management for BCBSMT members no matter where they live.
  • The CalOptima Board of Directors has authorized a grant agreement of up to $1 million to support the Be Well Orange Campus, a mental health and substance use treatment facility in Orange. The grant will enhance intake and admissions coordination services for CalOptima Medi-Cal members who need behavioral health services. The two-year grant will ensure CalOptima members have timely access to services, assessment and placement into care through an improved intake and coordination process at the Be Well Orange Campus. The cost of coordination includes staffing, training and development, administrative services, and a phone system upgrade.
  • CareOregon and the Alliance for Culturally Specific Behavioral Health Providers have codesigned a payment model to improve health outcomes for Oregon’s communities of color. Numerous national studies have shown that these communities are disproportionately impacted by lack of access to mental health support. Over the past 2 years, the collaboration has hit several milestones, most recently resulting in expanded payments for culturally specific providers that leverages both traditional payment models by increasing rates and Health Related Service dollars to compensate providers for time invested in outreach and engagement activities. These changes will result in an increase of up to 20% in payment to culturally specific providers.
  • CareSource is collaborating with Clarigent Health to bring artificial intelligence to behavioral health providers in Ohio. Clairity, Clarigent Health’s software tool, analyzes speech with artificial intelligence trained to identify patients at risk of suicide. Behavioral health providers in the Ohio Children’s Alliance (OCA) and Ohio Behavioral Health Provider Network (OBHPN) can now be reimbursed through CareSource when using Clairity. Between the 2 networks, more than 265,000 families and youth will have access to the technology.
  • The CareSource Foundation has awarded Overdose Lifeline, Inc. a more than $178,000 grant to improve the prevention of and response to opioid overdoses in Indiana schools. These funds will provide school partners with the emergency, life-saving medication naloxone, develop a custom training course for school staff and connect schools to evidence-based prevention programs.
  • CareSource has announced a new option with the Montgomery County Board of Developmental Disabilities (MCBDDS) and I Am Boundless to provide respite care for parents and other caregivers of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and behavioral health challenges. This new collaboration will provide respite services to those families with I/DD youth. Services such as after-school and day programming, and therapeutic supports will be embedded in each respite opportunity.
  • Centene is a driving partner in solving the problem of social isolation in schools through No One Eats Alone® Day, created by the nonprofit Beyond Differences and sponsored by The Centene Charitable Foundation. Mental well-being is especially important now as youth continue to experience stressors from the COVID-19 pandemic. Centene health plans across the country helped raise awareness by hosting virtual and in-person events in February and March to encourage inclusion and teach children how to combat isolation. They worked with 108 schools across 10 states, engaging at least 48,500 students in educational and fun activities.
  • Centene recently released a white paper entitled, “Advocating for the Mental Health of Medicare Recipients.” The white paper notes the important role Medicare plays in the more than 63 million Americans who received Medicare benefits in 2021 and the unique challenges the Medicare population faces.

    The white paper also highlight’s Centene’s role in keeping people enrolled in Medicare healthy, stating: “While recent policy changes have improved access to mental health services for Medicare beneficiaries, there is still work to be done to ensure they can easily receive the care they need to live healthier, higher-quality lives. As an industry leader and one of the largest Managed Care Organizations in the country serving many of our nation’s most vulnerable citizens, Centene is committed to ensuring the mental wellbeing of Medicare beneficiaries through access to high-quality care, innovative programs, and a wide range of health solutions.”
  • Cigna Chairman and CEO David M. Cordani unveiled new findings about the growing mental health crisis among teenagers and the impact it is having on parents, both at home and work. Cigna and Evernorth, its health services business, commissioned the study from Economist Impact to examine the mental health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on teenagers and their parents. The study was conducted in April 2022 and key findings include:
    • Approximately 80% of working parents reported some form of impact on the mental health of their teenage children as a result of the pandemic, including new or increased levels of anxiety, depression, behavioral issues, and problems with social interactions.
    • Nearly one in five working parents reported a negative impact on their work performance and productivity because of concerns about their child's mental health.
  • CVS Health is providing support to the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and Mental Health America, in recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month. The support is focused on equitable, quality access to mental health care services and resources, particularly among the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) community. A recent CVS Health/Morning Consult survey of Americans age 18+ also found that mental health concerns are continuing to rise among individuals of all backgrounds, especially Black, age 65+, young adult, and LGBTQIA+ respondents. The survey also found more Americans agree that the pandemic has made them more comfortable seeking support for mental health and using technology to address it.
  • The Florida Blue Foundation is making a $3.8 million investment to enhance mental health for Florida's children, families, and seniors. Twelve nonprofit organizations across the state share in the investment, which will support community-based programs that directly improve access to and quality of mental well-being services, particularly for the underserved and uninsured, including racial and ethnic minorities, and low-income populations. The investment will provide mental health counseling and education in schools for under/uninsured students and provide a safe environment for mental and emotional healing for members of the LGBTQ+ community, transgender individuals, victims of hate crimes, and LGBTQ+ seniors, in addition to supporting other mental health programs.
  • Highmark is encouraging members to focus on mental health in 2022 and is reminding them of resources that are available to better manage stress, anxiety, and depression. One new option for members is Meru Health, a 12-week evidence-based program to treat depression, anxiety, and burnout that mixes a clinical human touch with technology, self-care, and data via a discreet smartphone app. The 12-week treatment program includes consultation with a dedicated licensed therapist, evidence-based video lessons, guided mindfulness practices, habit-changing activities, and anonymous peer support groups, all done on a mobile device. Members will also have access to on-going support following the completion of the 12-week program.
  • Independent Health has been awarded the 2022 platinum Bell Seal for Workplace Mental Health by Mental Health America (MHA). The Bell Seal is a workplace mental health certification that recognizes employers who strive to create mentally healthy workplaces for their employees. Independent Health is the only organization in Western New York to be certified by MHA. Independent Health’s status as a platinum-level Bell Seal-certified organization demonstrates the company’s ongoing commitment to employee mental health and well-being, which in turn is instilled in the company’s wellness and mental health programming for its employer groups and members.
  • A mental health initiative developed by Kaiser Permanente and esports organization Cloud9 has been found to be an effective way of supporting the mental health of young adult esports players and fans, according to a new study from the NEJM Catalyst. Presence of Mind launched in May 2020 with the goal of reaching teens and young adults with positive mental health messages in places where they spend a lot of their time: online gaming and esports platforms. The initiative includes 2 seasons of live Twitch Stream series featuring prominent players; mental health experts and influencers; creator-led YouTube video content from some of esports' favorite players sharing insights, positivity, and personal mental health messages; and a series of free, online interactive training sessions to help address critical mental health issues. As of May 2022, the training sessions have been accessed by more than 51,000 teens and young adult gamers who have learned how to better manage their mental health and support their friends when they need it most.
  • A telehealth program at Kaiser Permanente Northern California (KPNC) is expanding support for people with serious, persistent mental illness by adding psychiatric clinical pharmacists to their care teams. The care teams deliver a package of comprehensive care for a highly vulnerable patient population, who are more likely to have chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension and a lifespan shortened by 10 to 25 years. The program takes advantage of a growing workforce of clinical pharmacists with 2 years of postgraduate training in psychiatry. Working closely as a team with the patient’s psychiatrist and other clinicians, clinical pharmacists act as care navigators, establishing an ongoing partnership with patients through regular video and telephone appointments.
  • Kaiser Permanente adult members in Colorado now have access to a 90-day subscription to Ginger, an on-demand mental health care solutions provider. Ginger provides confidential emotional support through on-demand coaching via text-based chats and skills-building content. Eligible members can use their smartphone to connect with a highly trained emotional support coach 24/7 — at no cost and with no referral or appointment needed. The private, one-on-one texting sessions provide support in coping with common challenges such as managing stress or getting better sleep.
  • Kaiser Permanente in Hawaii has awarded a $500,000 grant to Mental Health America of Hawaii to support its youth resilience and wellness training and education program. The program will provide 1,300 youth and youth-serving adults with evidence-informed suicide prevention and bullying prevention training over 6 months and will enable Mental Health America of Hawaii to increase training to individuals in rural areas of Oahu, Hawaii Island, and Kauai.
  • Magellan Healthcare has announced resources and programs to support individuals and families in honor of Mental Health Month in May. Magellan is highlighting its collaboration with Inspiring My Generation (IMG) and support of the IMG Encouragement Card Program. Through the program, individuals and groups make encouragement cards for adults and youth hospitalized in mental health facilities to bring them comfort and motivation in their recovery journey.
  • Magellan Healthcare has launched a Digital Emotional Wellbeing program that helps members improve overall health and wellbeing, manage stress, and build resilience in a confidential manner. Participating Magellan members with emotional concerns who use the NeuroFlow app or website receive recommendations and have access to activities to help them improve their overall health. Activities include evidence-based videos, articles, and behavioral trackers, as well as Magellan’s digital cognitive behavioral therapy programs, FearFighter® for anxiety and MoodCalmer® for depression. These activities will provide members with personalized, self-directed behavioral health resources, tools, and support, all from the secure, anonymous convenience of NeuroFlow’s app and website.
  • Magellan Healthcare is offering resources to support the emotional wellness of first responders, health care workers, and the National Guard in Idaho who are serving on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. Magellan continues to make available a free, confidential 24-hour crisis line. This is available for all first responders, health care workers, and the Idaho National Guard citizen soldiers and airmen. Critical care workers coping with feelings of fear, sadness, anger and hopelessness can call the toll free 1-800-327-7451 (TTY 711) to speak directly with a licensed mental health clinician and receive information on community-based support.
  • Magellan Health launched eMbrace, an industry-first total wellbeing solution for employers with more than 500 employees, on April 1, 2022. The solution aims to help people move from suffering and struggling in their everyday life to thriving. eMbrace is built to address multiple areas of an individual’s life, proactively assessing if they are thriving, struggling, or suffering across six essential elements: career, social, financial, physical, community, and emotional. eMbrace also includes a special version of the Gallup® WellbeingFinder™ that offers employees a personalized wellbeing plan addressing all six elements. Employees are directed to services and resources that address their pressing needs first, from legal, financial, and identity theft services to digital cognitive behavioral therapy modules, coaching, and counseling.
  • The MolinaCares Accord, in collaboration with Molina Healthcare of Washington, has presented a $100,000 grant to support Compass Health’s Broadway Campus Redevelopment Project. The grant will help fund construction of a 72,000 square-foot facility that will expand community-based behavioral health care services and its workforce in northwest Washington. The grant is a part of The MolinaCares Behavioral Health Initiative to increase access to behavioral health across the state.
  • Security Health Plan and Marshfield Medical Center-Rice Lake are investing in a mental health program from the Turtle Lake School District. School Pulse is an anonymous, interactive program that works to improve the mental health of students. The program provides social and emotional support to students through their cell phones and helps promote mental wellness and decrease suicide rates in young people. The School Pulse program uses texting to check in with students about their mental health 3 times a week, all year long. Students who wish to participate in the program will receive real-time help through open, anonymous communication through a platform that works just like texting.
  • Security Health Plan and Marshfield Clinic Health System are accepting applications from eligible school districts to implement b.e.s.t.® Universal Screening in the 2022-23 school year. b.e.s.t.® (Behavioral Emotional Social Traits) is an online screening tool designed to help education professionals build the emotional health of students and help identify students who may need additional positive behavioral support. The tool provides educators recommended actions to take with students based on their behaviors. Schools awarded a grant receive technical support, biannual screenings for students, and training consultation and support for teachers and staff.
  • Sunshine Health recently sponsored the Volunteer Florida’s Healthy Minds Teen Summit, where roughly 75 Florida middle and high school student leaders gathered to talk about normalizing mental health as a critical self-care topic. Breaking the stigma was the number one topic for these teen leaders, who learned about strategies and resources to take back to their peers to help deal with everything from the stresses of everyday life, to dealing with severe trauma. Inspirational speakers helped motivate the teens and shared their stories about mental health. Former college basketball star turned business owner Iman MacFarland introduced three-time Olympic Gymnast Dominque Dawes.
  • UCare and mental health providers Alluma and the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation have developed a pilot program to make it easier for prospective mental health professionals to join the field. Through the partnership, UCare will fund $100,000 in stipends for clinical interns as they complete the supervision necessary to graduate from and eventually be licensed in social work, clinical counseling, marriage and family therapy, and other mental health roles. Wilder and Alluma will provide thousands of hours of state mandated supervision at no cost. The pilot will focus on supporting clinical interns from cultural and ethnic minority groups, rural communities, and other underrepresented populations where the workforce needs are greatest.