It’s been a year since coronavirus dramatically changed the way people receive addiction care. Thanks to our health plan partners for spearheading coverage for 100% virtual care.
As we come up on one year of a world changed by COVID-19, we find it impossible not to reflect upon the innovations and partnerships that have furthered substance use disorder care amidst the dual epidemics. Our health plan partners and collaborators, some of whom we’ve highlighted below, have demonstrated a commitment to ensuring their membership has access to low-barrier, digital addiction treatment throughout the past year and beyond.
Horizon BCBSNJ’s commitment to partnering with innovative substance use disorder solutions was fostered before the pandemic required a rethinking of our existing systems of care. A Rutgers study found that while strides had been made to further the availability of medication-assisted treatment, an evidence-based treatment for opioid use disorder, only a quarter of NJ addiction treatment providers utilized it. Horizon’s Behavioral Health team, championed by innovators including Suzanne Kunis, Rachel Goldberg, and Denise Mizell, recognized virtual medication-assisted treatment as a necessity prior to stay-at-home orders and has been a leading payer in its promotion. In the past year, Workit has had the opportunity to serve members across their commercial, Medicare, and Medicaid lines of business around the state of New Jersey. We have been fortunate to collaborate with an organization focused on championing access to life-saving services.
Workit began our partnership with Aetna toward the end of 2019, prior to the strains COVID-19 placed on existing brick and mortar networks. Aetna’s excitement to pilot with Workit in Michigan and California extended to a partnership expansion in the early stages of the pandemic nearly a year ago. In this time, Workit has become a covered service for Aetna members in all of our markets, most recently Ohio. We’ve been grateful to collaborate with innovators including the Director of Digital Product Innovation and Strategic Partnerships, Kathy Mahieu, and Aetna Behavioral Health’s decision to expand the partnership signaled their commitment to covering evidence-based, low-barrier addiction treatment for millions of individuals.
Premera Blue Cross very quickly determined that the pandemic would require adopting robust substance use disorder services to serve their membership. Moving quickly to ensure access, Workit partnered with Premera to expand our programs to Washington and Alaska. Additionally, Workit has been able to serve Premera members outside of these key markets as thousands of their members reside across the country. The COVID-19 behavioral health expansion demonstrated Premera’s product and network commitment to bolstering their telehealth offerings in a time of need and extending those partnerships beyond COVID-19. Our partners, Product Manager Greg Warren and Provider Network Executive Marissa Cook, continue to champion treatment access for their members.