Skip to content Skip to navigation

Cigna Adds Behavioral Health Consults to its Telehealth Services

September 30, 2016
by Rajiv Leventhal
| Reprints

Health services organization Cigna has announced expanded telehealth services for millions of Americans enrolled in Cigna administered medical and behavioral health plans for 2017.

In 2017, Cigna said that it will significantly expand its telehealth coverage by adding AMWell (by telemedicine company American Well) to its existing offering of MDLive, also a telehealth provider, both as a standard telehealth benefit for most of Cigna’s U.S. employer-sponsored group health plans, as well as many of its individual health plans on and off public marketplace exchanges. Both services operate national networks of board-certified doctors that are able to treat minor medical conditions such as allergies, cold and flu and sinusitis.

What’s more, in January, Cigna will also add telehealth video consultations for its health plan customers by using the company’s contracted behavioral health professionals. Customers who have mental health/substance abuse benefits with Cigna will have the option for individual therapy or medication management through video-based services. There is no additional cost for these behavioral services to customers or their employers, with the same cost share applying to video-based services as face-to-face office visits, Cigna said in its announcement.

“Since Cigna began offering telehealth to customers 10 years ago, we’ve learned a few things about how we can help people benefit from their plans in the ways that matter most: increased access and convenience, choice, care quality and affordability,” Cigna telehealth lead, Robert Wijnhoven, said in a statement. “We also know about the difficulty some Americans have accessing a behavioral health professional, especially in rural areas. Enabling access to our behavioral health care professional networks via telehealth provides an innovative solution to this accessibility challenge.”

According to Wijnhoven, at a time when many customers are responsible for a larger percent of their medical spend, telehealth offers on demand access to health care professionals at a fraction of the cost of conventional points of service such as retail clinics, urgent care and emergency room visits. “Cost is especially important for customers on the public exchanges, which is why we are extending this benefit beyond our employer-sponsored plans,” Wijnhoven said. “As important however, is quality and continuity of care.

Get the latest information on Telemedicine and attend other valuable sessions at this two-day Summit providing healthcare leaders with educational content, insightful debate and dialogue on the future of healthcare and technology.

Learn More

Topics

News

Healthcare Data Breaches: A Year in Review

The latest year-in-review Breach Barometer report from Protenus paints a stark picture—2016 average at least one health data breach per day, affecting more than 27 million patient records.

Healthcare Industry Could Save $9.4B with Full Adoption of Electronic Transactions

The healthcare industry continues to make modest progress toward full adoption of electronic business transactions, but significant gaps remain, representing an opportunity for $9.4 billion in savings, according to new data from the 2016 CAQH Index.

ONC Announces Phase 2 Winners of Consumer, Provider App Challenges

ONC today announced the Phase 2 winners for the Consumer Health Data Aggregator Challenge and the Provider User Experience Challenge.

Health Affairs: ACOs with High Numbers of Minority Patients Struggle in Quality

Accountable care organizations (ACOs) that have a high proportion of minority patients were associated with low scores on about three-fourths of Medicare quality performance measures, according to new research published in Health Affairs.

Trump Taps David Shulkin, an Obama Appointee, for VA Secretary

President-elect Donald Trump announced yesterday that David Shulkin, M.D.—an Obama administration appointee and current VA undersecretary—will lead the Department of Veterans Affairs.

NIST Publishes Draft Update to Cybersecurity Framework

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has published proposed updates to the Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity—also known as the Cybersecurity Framework.