Health plans continue to add digital platforms for mental health

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Minneapolis-based PreferredOne has joined a growing number of health plans nationwide that are turning to the use of digital methods to treat mental health.

PreferredOne has added Learn to Live’s evidence-based digital cognitive behavioral therapy platform to support its self-insured clients with 200 or more employees to aid in treating mild to moderate anxiety, depression, social anxiety, insomnia or substance use.

“Market-leading engagement, strong clinical outcomes, and high satisfaction and retention rates are key reasons why we added Learn to Live as an option for our groups,” says Abbie Miller, senior vice president and chief medical officer at PreferredOne. “Many teens and adults experience emotional health challenges but lack access to help. Learn to Live’s effective and engaging solutions support our mission of helping members achieve their best health.”

Dale Cook, CEO and co-founder of Learn to Live, says the platform will bring “a new level of access, convenience and effectiveness to support emotional health and well-being” to PreferredOne’s members. “Learn to Live’s programs provide an effective, innovative and confidential solution to those who may lack access to support for their mental or emotional health concerns,” he says.

Learn to Live, also based in Minneapolis and launched five years ago, provides targeted mental health care in a self-directed, self-paced way, digitally, Cook says. In addition, members can access coaches via text, email and phone, without having to seek out other traditional—often stigmatized—mental health therapy.

According to Cook, some organizations that have used Learn to Live’s platform have seen a 25 percent to 30 percent drop in ER visits because of panic attacks. Other returns on investment have included a 15 percent to 30 percent increase in productivity and a 25 percent decrease in attrition for universities.

As a sign of the company’s acceptance in the industry, this December, when Express Scripts announced its first-in-the-industry digital health formulary, Learn to Live was among the companies listed.

PreferredOne now joins other leading health insurers, large employers and higher education institutions that offer Learn to Live’s emotional health programs to their members, employees and students. Learn to Live’s services are now available to more than 3.5 million members across the U.S., the company says.

PreferredOne is not the only health plan to make recent digital advances in an effort to improve outcomes for mental healthcare. In December, Blue Shield of California announced it is launching BlueSky—a collaboration with the California Department of Education and a host of nonprofits—to make online and other mental health resources available to California's middle and high school students. And, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts last November added Learn to Live’s evidence-based CBT to its Emerging Solutions portfolio.

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