• Sasha Wolff

Many Health Insurance Plans Waiving Various Fees for Mental Health Help During COVID-19

Let’s address the elephant in the room. Ok, maybe it’s not so much an elephant anymore as it is a WHALE…. Our mental health is suffering during these difficult times. The COVID-19 Pandemic is a global health crisis and it’s not just affecting people physically, but mentally as well. Just last week, a crisis mental health hotline had an 891% increase in the number of calls they’ve been getting. So many people I talk to, even though they’ve never had a mental health issue before, are having a hard time with depression and anxiety. 


Because we know these are difficult times for everyone, we wanted to pull together a list of resources to help. Below is a list of the top health insurance companies in the country and what they’re currently offering for mental health help during the COVID-19 crisis. They include waived co-pays, free access to mental health apps, and more. As a reminder, things change on a daily basis, so please call the number on the back of your insurance card to get the most up to date information on what your plan can offer for mental health care.

Aetna

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Aetna is offering zero co-pay telemedicine visits for any reason, including mental health care services.

Anthem

Anthem is currently waiving any cost-sharing for telehealth visits that utilize their telehealth provider LiveHealth Online, as well as care from other telehealth providers that deliver virtual care. The insurance company’s affiliated health plans have also teamed up with Psych Hub, to create a list of resources that can help you through social isolation, job loss, and other issues relating to the coronavirus.

United Health

The UnitedHealth Group has a free emotional-support line for its members to utilize through Optum Help. The support line is staffed by mental health staff that can help support you if you are suffering from fear or stress related to COVID-19. The service is free of charge and can be reached at 866-342-6892. The health insurance company is also offering free access to Sanvello, an on-demand emotional support mobile app.

Kaiser

Kaiser Permanente is giving all of its members access to Livongo’s mental health app called myStrength.

Humana

During the coronavirus pandemic, Humana is temporarily waiving member cost-share for all telehealth services delivered through participating/in-network providers. At the same time, they’re also expanding what type of practitioner types can deliver telehealth services so that mental health services are now included in that. 

Cigna

Cigna has a few things they’re offering members in regards to mental health and COVID-19:

  1. 24-hour COVID-19 mental health helpline available to the general public The toll-free number is 1-866-912-1687

  2. Webinar: Managing Anxiety, Fears and Concerns

  3. Webinar: Keys to Success while Working at Home

  4. Podcasts: Mindfulness and Stress Management

  5. Webinar: Resilience in Challenging Times

  6. PDF: Coping with Fear of the Coronavirus

Blue Cross Blue Shield Association

Blue Cross Blue Shield’s network of 36 independent and locally owned BCBS companies will waive costs associated for telehealth services related to physical and/or behavioral health when received from an in-network provider. The waived fee is only for fully insured members of BCBS.

Tricare

Tricare will cover the use of telemental health services. However, the visits are subject to the same referral and authorization requirements as other visits.

No Insurance 

Not everyone has access to insurance, and we realize that so we’ve pulled together a list of resources that can assist whether you’re covered or not.

  1. Disaster Distress Helpline (SAMHSA) Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746

  2. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Link) Call 800-273-8255 or Chat with Lifeline

  3. Crisis Textline (Link) Text TALK to 741741

  4. Veterans Crisis Line (VA) Call 800-273-8255 or text 838255

If you don’t see your insurance company listed here, we recommend you call the number of the back of your insurance card. They’ll be able to tell you what they can offer during this time.

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