Cigna grows digital behavioral health network in partnership with Talkspace

Cigna is expanding its digital options for mental health in the wake of COVID-19.

The insurer said Thursday that it will add Talkspace, a platform that connects patients with therapists through text, video and voice messaging, to its provider network for digital behavioral health.

The therapists will engage with patients daily through a secure app, and patients will have the option to schedule video visits as they choose.

"Almost no one is immune to the emotional toll of the COVID-19 pandemic, whether you're on the frontlines, juggling work from home, or in self-isolation," said Eva Borden, managing director, behavioral strategy and solutions at Cigna, in a statement. "This is why we've accelerated efforts to bring more virtual mental health care options so that customers have easier access to the personalized support they need—at a place and time that works for them." 

RELATED: As COVID-19 isolates patients, telehealth becomes lifeline for behavioral health

In its own announcement, Talkspace said the partnership with Cigna expands its reach to 40 million members. The company also works with insurers like Humana, Optum and Premera Blue Cross.

Talkspace said that between March and April it's seen a 70% increase in clients registering with insurance.

“The rising volume of interest from health plans and members is a sign of the trust they have in our clinical quality, national provider network, and platform security,” said Mark Hirschhorn, Talkspace's president, chief financial officer and chief operating officer, in a statement.

Alongside the team-up with Talkspace, Cigna announced several additional programs it will launch in select states to expand access to virtual behavioral health. Cigna members in Arizona, California and Colorado will have access to Meru Health, a 12-week app-based program to treat anxiety and burnout, for example.

Cigna will offer digital substance abuse treatment through MAP Health Management in nine states and the District of Columbia, and NOCD, a digital platform for obsessive-compulsive disorder treatment, in California, Michigan and North Carolina.