Value-based mental health payments could be windfall for insurers

Insurers that transition to value-based payments for mental health services are likely to see significant financial benefits in a market that is still struggling to establish quality standards, according to a contributed post for Forbes.

At a recent event hosted by the University of Chicago's Institute of Politics, former Congressman Patrick Kennedy told the audience that a value-based approach to mental health services is "where the gold is," Forbes contributor Bruce Japsen writes. Kennedy, an outspoken advocate for reforms to mental health and addiction treatment services, added that mental health often goes hand-in-hand with other chronic conditions, but coverage "carve-outs" and a lack of effective quality measures impedes the transition from volume to value.

"It's not in our culture to think about this whole-person health," Kennedy said, according to the post. "But that is where the money is. The people who get their arms around it in the business world are going to be the people who make the biggest killing in terms of healthcare."

Historically, insurers have fallen short in mental health coverage. Kennedy's comments echoed other industry experts who have pushed for better care coordination, improved data collection and reformed financial incentives within the behavioral health industry.

Cigna appears to be leading the charge in that regard. Facing increased costs tied to the building opioid abuse crisis, last week the insurer announced it was providing two years of substance abuse claims to help the American Society of Addiction Medicine test and validate existing addiction treatment performance measures.

To learn more:
- read the Forbes post

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