AHIP: Insurers breaking ground in behavioral health coverage

A new report from America's Health Insurance Plans touts the "pioneering innovative programs" that insurers have deployed to meet patients' behavioral health needs. 

Insurers are partnering with behavioral healthcare organizations to provide patients with mental health and/or substance use disorders, for example, with access to evidence-based services and assistance with basic needs such as housing, transportation and job training, according to the AHIP report.

An estimated 38 million people nationwide had access to behavioral healthcare and benefits in 2014, according to the report. Health plans meet federal and state requirements for both care networks and benefits, the report noted, and support the protections established under the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, AHIP says.

The report cites several case studies that look at how payers provide mental health and substance abuse services. These include:

  • Anthem, which has a small but growing program in which mental health professionals work in a primary care practice to meet with, screen, coach and refer patients to specialized services.
  • Cigna, which uses predictive models for early identification of patients with behavioral health conditions and refers them to care managers that consistently coordinate care with providers and help patients access a range of services.
  • Humana, which researched the impact of behavioral health on disease progression and integrated its medical and behavioral health IT platforms to make that information available to care managers and providers.

The report is in contrast to one last year from the National Alliance on Mental Illness, which contended insurers fail to provide adequate coverage for mental health and substance abuse. Meanwhile, a Forbes contributor suggested earlier this month that transitioning to value-based payments for mental health services could pay off handsomely for insurers. 

To learn more:
- here's the AHIP report