Cigna adds in-network virtual mental healthcare, highlighting focus on treatment access

By | May 5, 2021

Dive Brief:

  • Cigna will offer behavioral health coaching as an in-network benefit to 14 million customers through its partnership with virtual mental health service provider Ginger, the companies announced April 28.
  • Ginger provides Cigna customers with employer-sponsored or individual and family insurance plans with behavioral health coaching, therapy and psychiatry services through its app. Its behavioral health coaching is available 24/7 and is “designed to prevent the onset of more serious mental health conditions before they start,” Ginger said in the announcement.
  • “Cigna’s mission is to improve the health, well-being and peace of mind of those we serve by making healthcare simple, affordable and predictable,” said Doug Nemecek, Cigna’s chief medical officer for behavioral health. “Right now, more than ever, individuals are seeking out mental health support, and our relationship with Ginger creates more access to that care, when and where customers need it.”

Dive Insight:

The pandemic heightened mental health concerns for many workers, and employers took note. Many employers added new mental health or wellness benefits to their offerings. Virtual solutions were particularly popular, growing alongside other virtual healthcare options spurred by the coronavirus.

Target, for instance, provided U.S. workers free access to Daylight and Sleepio, apps designed to improve stress management and sleep, respectively. Starbucks partnered with Lyra to provide workers free therapy sessions.

These measures respond to a problem that predates the pandemic: treatment access. While social distancing mandates sharpened this barrier, access has long been hampered by a number of factors.

Technology can provide increased access to care for those who are not insured, live in rural areas or do not want to go to a designated mental health professional, sources previously told HR Dive. Virtual visits, along with other initiatives, can reduce some of those barriers.

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