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Premera Blue Cross offers zero cost share virtual mental health and substance use disorder treatment during COVID-19 pandemic

Mountlake Terrace, Wash., April 21, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Premera Blue Cross, a leading health plan in the Pacific Northwest, today announced an expansion of its zero cost share options for virtual mental health care and substance use disorder treatment in response to the unprecedented demand for virtual care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Premera has signed provider agreements with Doctor On Demand, Boulder Care and Workit Health to deliver video-based mental health care and substance use disorder treatment to nearly all 2.3 million Premera Blue Cross, Premera Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alaska, and LifeWise Health Plan of Washington customers through at least June 30.

“As we continue to experience the consequences of this crisis, we are seeing the immediate and lasting impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on mental health. We want to remove any barriers our communities might face in seeking help for behavioral health issues, as well as substance and alcohol use disorders,” said Rick Abbott, VP of Product and Market Solutions for Premera.“

The expanded offerings include:

  • Behavioral health services with licensed psychiatrists and psychologists through Doctor On Demand, in addition to the general medical services already available to customers

  • Medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD), including peer coaching and holistic medical management of substance use disorders through Boulder Care

  • Alcohol substance use disorder telehealth coaching and counseling through Workit Health

These services will be available to members who purchase their health insurance through their employers as provided in their plan or to members who purchase their insurance on the individual market.

Cost shares will be waived for all medically necessary telehealth services from in-network providers, including Doctor on Demand, Boulder Care and Workit Health. Customers may begin treatment with existing in-network providers or our new telehealth providers without a referral.

In addition to these new providers, Premera added new covered services for care delivered virtually. Telehealth is now covered for Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), mental health and substance use disorders Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHPs), and mental health and substance use disorders Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs). This is a change to previous policies.

Premera previously announced expanded telehealth offerings with 98point6 and Doctor on Demand, and originally launched opioid use disorder treatment with Boulder Care in Alaska. Learn more about Premera's response to the COVID-19 outbreak for our customers.

About Premera Blue Cross

Premera Blue Cross is a leading health plan in the Pacific Northwest, providing comprehensive health benefits and tailored services to about 2 million people, from individuals to Fortune 100 companies.

Dani Chung
Premera Blue Cross