Apr 19, 2021
Cigna Customers Can Now Work With Behavioral Health Coaches as Demand for Mental Health Support Surges

The world is grappling with a mental health crisis exacerbated by the pandemic, and as demand has grown in the U.S. for mental health care and services, supply has struggled to keep up. To help meet the growing need, Cigna continues to expand the innovative behavioral health services available to its customers. Cigna’s latest move is to team up with Ginger to provide in-network coverage for on-demand behavioral health coaching, therapy and psychiatry services for its 14 million behavioral health customers. 

Early access to behavioral health coaching is designed to prevent the onset of more serious mental health conditions before they occur. Coaches take an active, goal-oriented approach to address a wide array of mental health issues, ranging from stress and depression to sleep problems and relationship challenges. They are trained to identify the need for higher-level care, and can help connect people to therapy or psychiatry services when needed, supporting customers through their entire care journey with Ginger. 

“As we mark Mental Health Awareness month, we are committed to continuing to make mental health care more accessible, and our relationship with Ginger creates more access, when and where customers need it,” said Cigna’s Dr. Doug Nemecek, chief medical officer for behavioral health. “Early intervention and making it easier to access care quickly are some of the best ways to prevent more serious mental health conditions, and that is what we offer Cigna customers.” 

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, use of virtual services by Cigna's behavioral health customers has reached more than 60 percent [PDF], and nearly 80 percent [PDF] report being very satisfied with behavioral telehealth, which is significant as we work to increase access and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health. 

Beginning in April 2021, Cigna’s behavioral health customers enrolled in employer-sponsored and individual and family plan (IFP) health plans can connect with a behavioral health coach as well as access Ginger’s robust library of self-guided content and skill-building activities through a smartphone app. For individuals who need higher levels of care, a therapist or psychiatrist can be added to their care team for video-based sessions. Cigna is the first carrier to bring Ginger’s coaching services in-network, allowing customers to access behavioral health coach support via their benefits. All of these virtual services will be available through Cigna's outpatient behavioral health coverage, subject to benefit plan cost share. 

"We're facing a nationwide supply-demand crisis in mental health care, with demand reaching unprecedented levels and fewer providers entering the industry than ever before," said Russell Glass, CEO of Ginger. "We're proud to partner with leading organizations like Cigna that recognize not only the scope of the nation's mental health crisis, but the importance of addressing this challenge now.” 

Ginger is the latest addition to Cigna’s comprehensive behavioral health offering, which makes accessing care faster and more convenient, and includes a virtual behavioral health network of more than 59,000 providers - the largest in the country. Cigna is also providing supportive resources for all customers, clients and communities for managing anxiety, fear, stress and improving resiliency during COVID-19. For more information, visit Cigna's COVID-19 resource center.