Premera Blue Cross Improves Access to Behavioral Healthcare in Washington

Health plan expands provider network, adds innovative service that reduces barriers to care

Mountlake Terrace, Wash., Aug. 10, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Premera Blue Cross today announced improvements to members’ access to behavioral healthcare, which includes care for mental health conditions and substance use disorders, through new solutions that break down barriers to accessing care. This three-year initiative included developing a service to help members find an available provider, expanding the health plan’s provider network, and continuing to support the integration of behavioral health services into primary care clinics.

Millions of people are affected by behavioral health conditions every year, but despite how common these issues are, people still struggle to get care. According to Mental Health America, nearly 30 percent of adults with a mental health condition reported they could not get the treatment they needed, while 93 percent of people with a substance use disorder did not receive treatment in the last year. 

“When someone is struggling with a behavioral health condition, it’s critical we meet them wherever they are in their healthcare journey,” said Rami Rafeh, Vice President of Provider Strategy and Collaboration at Premera Blue Cross. “We focus on creating solutions that provide better access to services that fit someone’s unique needs.”

Premera is helping members get connected to care through its Matchmaker™ for Behavioral Health program. This new program is designed to make the process of finding a healthcare provider less stressful and time-consuming. Premera members who use this free program receive a curated list from the Matchmaker team tailored to the member’s specific needs, which includes in-network behavioral health clinicians who are accepting new patients. The Matchmaker team can source providers for adults and youth anywhere in the country. Members’ access to Matchmaker varies by plan.

Premera also expanded its behavioral health provider network in Washington by 22 percent in the last three years to meet the increased demand for care. This growth added more than 1,000 clinicians across various specialties and locations that provide both in-person and virtual care. To support access to behavioral healthcare in the community, Premera is continuing a partnership with UW Medicine. A portion of the $10 million investment from Premera in 2019 will support the integration of the Collaborative Care model into clinics in Washington that serve communities with a high percentage of Black and African American residents.

Members should check their benefits booklet or call the phone number on the back of their ID card to determine services and care available under their plan. For more information about how to find care and use a plan’s benefits, visit the behavioral health care essentials page.

About Premera Blue Cross
Premera Blue Cross, a not-for-profit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association based in Mountlake Terrace, Wash., is a leading health plan in the Pacific Northwest, providing comprehensive health benefits and tailored services to more than 2.8 million people, from individuals to Fortune 100 companies.


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