Talkspace, a platform dedicated to helping people access convenient behavioral health services, has announced a partnership that will allow them to offer care covered by insurance for more than 40 million Americans. With an estimated nearly 1 in 5 people receiving a diagnosis of a mental health condition each year, this valuable service will provide a wealth of opportunity for people across the country.
What is Talkspace?
Talkspace provides a platform where people can meet with licensed therapists and psychiatrists. Patients can meet with their mental health professional in private chat rooms as well as communicate through audio-visual messages or text messages.
The convenient interface provides a different environment than the typical face-to-face therapy experience. For many people who prefer the convenience and stigma-free opportunities provided through an online experience, however, this can be an excellent chance for affirming and life-changing therapy. Some patients find that they prefer the treatment they can receive from the comfort and privacy from their own home.
The platform and the care provided by the therapists and psychiatrists are all HIPPA-compliant, and the platform’s designers specifically sought to create an easy-to-use interactive experience to remove barriers to treatment. The intuitive technology empowers patients to take control of their care and get access to the help they need without worrying about technological concerns.
Exploring the benefits of the new insurance coverage
This latest development in insurance coverage means that patients will now be able to receive coverage from several major insurance providers, including Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield, Optum, Humana, and Cigna. This brings help to millions of people across the country, as the coverage can come through employers, large organizations that offer plans to members, colleges and universities, and personal means of securing plans from one of these providers.
Barriers to mental healthcare
Michael Phelps, who serves as an ambassador for the Talkspace brand, helped to bring about this latest advancement. The olympian expressed satisfaction that this arrangement will help to remove potential healthcare barriers for millions of people.
For many patients who need behavioral health treatment, insurance coverage, and finding a means of affording care can present a significant obstacle for securing the help they need. Only 60 percent of Americans believe that they have coverage for in-person therapy through their existing medical insurance plans. When it comes to telemedicine therapy options, like Talkspace, however, that number falls even further, with only a fifth of Americans believing that their plans offer them the coverage for treatment. Without coverage, costs associated with help and care present insurmountable obstacles for many prospective patients, leaving them to struggle without the help of the medical professionals they need.
For patients who would benefit from therapy, a lack of coverage from insurance providers was listed as one of the top three barriers to receiving the care they need. The new coverage plans that will allow patients to access help through Talkspace will help to alleviate many of these problems.
These patients will be empowered to take advantage of this intersection between technology and medical coverage.
Covid-19, telemedicine, and mental health
The problems associated with a lack of coverage have been amplified over the past few months as the global pandemic has left many Americans struggling even more with finances, while mental distress has tripled. People find themselves facing financial, environmental, and familial sources of stress, which create an unfavorable atmosphere for mental health. This magnifies an environment where telemedicine and improved mental healthcare would play a valuable role for Americans, but help remains even more remote than it felt before.
Mental health has also become a struggle for many patients who have had the virus but have now physically ‘recovered.’ An estimated half of the people who had to be admitted to the hospital to help them battle the virus still were suffering from psychiatric disorders a month after they finished their treatment.
In the face of the spreading pandemic, avoiding public places whenever possible has become a standard part of reducing viral spread. As a result, many people now want to avid doctor offices outside of emergent care. This presents a situation where many patients no longer feel as though they can access the care they need.
Particularly with the restrictions that COVID has placed on healthcare, there has been a shift towards using telemedicine whenever possible to reduce crowds and chances for virus exposure. The opportunities that this Talkspace platform offers patients now presents considerable advantages. Patients can receive help and care in a private setting without having to engage in face-to-face exposure.
With the addition of the new insurance coverage plans, those who struggled to find the help they needed before can now receive regular care through a digital platform and still have that care covered by their insurance provider.
The interest in telemedicine options has grown both for patients and insurance companies. Online treatment allows patients to receive the treatment they need to take care of their health without placing themselves as an unneeded risk for contracting the novel coronavirus, benefiting both insurance providers and the patients.
In response, Talkspace has seen its user base more than double within the past year with this growing interest in telemedicine. This increased coverage will likely help to continue to support this growth as more patients find themselves empowered to secure the care they need to protect their health.
Healthcare continues to change and develop
The growth of the Talkspace platform signifies the importance the telemedicine will continue to have in the lives of many patients. As people find themselves with the choice of going to in-person treatment or receiving care from the comfort and privacy of their homes, they can select the option that works best for them. The boost in insurance coverage from major carriers can help to increase access to care for millions of people, including those who have been impacted by the current global pandemic. This platform continues to demonstrate how technology and healthcare providers can work together to provide superior care for patients.
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