CHICAGO – New survey data from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) shows that 75% of Americans with behavioral health conditions are continuing therapy services during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the prevalence of telehealth and other digital health services. Further, while 42% of people reported delaying a health care appointment due to the pandemic, only 16% have delayed a mental health appointment.
The usage of telemedicine has seen a 1.6 times increase since the summer of 2019, with more than half of that growth occurring since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Millennials and Gen Z age groups are using these services more than older age groups, reporting a 30 and 35% usage of telemedicine respectively, compared to only 15% of Baby Boomers. A millennial is someone who was born between 1981 and 1996. There are nearly 73 million millennials in the U.S. right now – the second largest generation among commercially insured Americans, as reflected in the Blue Cross Blue Shield, The Health of America Report® series, “The Health of Millennials,” released late last year.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is a stressful time for everyone due to the fear and uncertainty that it brings, leading people to cope in different ways,” said Dr. Vincent Nelson, vice president of medical affairs for BCBSA. “It is vital that Americans continue to seek out the care they need from the telehealth options available to them to ensure that they can get and stay healthy.”
To help address this, Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) companies have made a system-wide commitment to ensure members can swiftly and smoothly get the right care in the right setting during the outbreak, including the expansion of telehealth coverage across the nation. Individual BCBS companies have also adjusted current behavioral health programs and introduced new initiatives to meet the unique needs of their local markets.
- Creating a 24/7 bilingual helpline to provide emotional support to members in both English and Spanish
- Providing telehealth services
- Improving variety of emotional wellness and virtual support apps and programs
- Hosting mental health webinars and creating regular, behavioral and emotional health support content, including editorials and videos from medical directors and certified medical experts
To learn more about what BCBS companies are doing to support their local communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, click here.