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June 7, 2023

Mental health spending has doubled at BCBS

A cluster of three tall buildings behind an outdoor glass walkway. Photo | Courtesy of Blue Cross Blue Shield The Boston offices of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts saw its annual spending on mental health care services for members reach $1.3 billion in 2022, according to newly released data from BCBS. In 2019, annual spending for the same services was $610 million.

The insurer attributes the doubling in spending since the start of the COVID pandemic to members seeking more mental health care and substance use disorder treatment. 

“Access to high-quality, convenient and affordable mental health care has never been more important,” Sarah Iselin, BCBS president and CEO, said in a Monday press release. “We're working hard to expand our network and help members find the right care, when they need it. We are committed to this work because it is the right thing to do for our members and our community.”

To respond to the increased demand for treatment, BCBS has expanded its provider network in the realm of mental health care, according to the release. The network now includes more than 18,000 physicians, a 50% increase since the pandemic began.

BCBS is adding specialty providers to the network, including San Diego-based Cortica, a national autism service provider which acquired Springtide Child Development in April.

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