Survey Shows Strong Motion by Health Insurance Providers to Growing Mental Health Care Demands – InsuranceNewsNet


WASHINGTON, Aug. 5 (TNSrpt) — America’s Health Insurance Plans issued the next news release on Aug. 4, 2022:

Every American deserves access to mental health support that’s effective and reasonably priced. A recent survey released today by AHIP highlights how medical insurance providers are improving access to mental health care by bringing more high-quality providers into their networks, training and supporting primary care physicians (PCP) to look after patients with mild to moderate behavioral health conditions, and helping patients find available behavioral health appointments.

“Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, hundreds of thousands of Americans struggled with mental health and substance use challenges,” said Kate Berry, Senior Vice President of Clinical Affairs and Strategic Partnerships at AHIP. “The mismatch between the provision of mental health and substance use disorder providers and the demand for care is a longstanding problem. That is why medical insurance providers are working hard to enhance their provider networks and increase access to care.”

When health care providers take part in health plan networks, care is more cost-effective, and providers are more accountable for quality. By offering plans with a wide selection of mental health professionals in network, effective mental health support is more accessible and reasonably priced. And by integrating mental health care with primary care, medical insurance providers are partnering with physicians and mental health professionals to fulfill patients where they’re and offer care that’s more continuous, holistic, and effective.

Key findings from the survey include:

* All respondents (100%) provide coverage for tele-behavioral health services.

* The variety of in-network behavioral health providers has grown by a median of 48% in 3 years amongst business health plans.

* The overwhelming majority of health plans (89%) are actively recruiting mental health care providers, including practitioners who reflect the variety of the people they serve (83%), and 78% have increased payments to providers in efforts to recruit more high-quality professionals to their plan networks.

* The variety of providers eligible to prescribe Medication Assisted Therapy (MAT) for substance use disorder, including opioid dependence, has greater than doubled – growing 114% over 3 years.

* A powerful majority (72%) of plans are training and supporting PCPs to look after patients with mild/moderate behavioral health conditions.

* A big majority (83%) of plans report they assist enrollees with finding available mental and behavioral health appointments.

* A big majority (78%) use specialized case managers for follow-up after emergency room and inpatient care and/or starting recent medications.

* Greater than half of Americans, nearly 180 million, have employer-provided coverage for his or her health care needs — which offers a vital path to accessing much-needed mental health support.

“Medical health insurance providers are taking steps to enhance mental health care by proactively identifying behavioral health needs of their members, collaborating with providers, and reducing stigma,” Berry continued. “While quite a lot of work has been done, medical insurance providers recognize the necessity to deal with systemic challenges. This may only be completed by all health care stakeholders working collaboratively to make sure Americans have reasonably priced access to the high-quality mental health support they deserve.”

AHIP fielded the survey on mental health coverage within the business market in May-June 2022. The survey was fielded to all AHIP member health plans with enrollments in group (self-insured and fully insured) and individual (on and off exchange) markets. The survey received responses from plans representing 95 million business enrollees.

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