6 recent payer virtual care moves

Payers are bolstering virtual mental healthcare services and adding chronic condition management. 

Here are six virtual care updates Becker's has reported since Nov. 14:

  1. A partnership between Los Angeles County, L.A. Care Health Plan and Centene's Health Net will soon offer free mental telehealth services to 1.3 million public school students. Los Angeles Unified School District and Compton Unified School District are the first to say they will utilize the new service. L.A. Care, the nation's largest publicly operated health plan, and Health Net are investing up to $24 million to cover the new service for all participants over two years.

  1. Blue Shield of California is launching a virtual-first health plan in partnership with care navigation platform Accolade. The 'Virtual Blue" health benefits plan will offer $0 out-of-pocket costs for virtual primary care, specialty care for 20 specialties, urgent care and mental care. 

  1. More than 5 million UnitedHealthcare commercial fully insured members can now access new virtual behavioral offerings at no additional cost. The virtual behavioral coaching program is administered by Optum and provides support to adults with symptoms of mild depression, stress and anxiety through 30-minute weekly digital, video or telephone communications with a trained coach.

  1. Insurers paid similar rates for telehealth and in-person services in 2020, according to an analysis from the Peterson-Kaiser Family Foundation Health System Tracker.
  1. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City's venture fund, Cobalt Ventures, led a $12 million funding round for Nymbl Science, a digital fall prevention company. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama's venture fund, 450 Ventures, was also among the backers. 

  1. Cigna's health services arm, Evernorth, added management for chronic conditions to telehealth service MDLive. Patients who have access to MDLive through their health plan are able to use the new chronic condition management program for hypertension beginning in 2023. The telehealth service plans to add other conditions throughout the year.

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