The health payer plans to improve behavioral health management and healthcare access via the acquisition of Beacon Health Options.
Anthem Inc. will be acquiring Beacon Health Options, a behavioral health management company serving beneficiaries in all 50 states.
The acquisition marks Anthem’s commitment to addressing behavioral health within its beneficiary populations, according to Gail K. Boudreaux, the president and CEO of the payer.
“As Anthem works to improve lives, simplify healthcare and serve as an innovative and valuable partner, we’re focused on providing solutions that address the needs of the whole person,” Boudreaux said in a statement.
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“With an extensive track record in behavioral health, Beacon fits well with our strategy to better manage the needs of populations with chronic and complex conditions, and deliver integrated whole health solutions,” she added. “Together with Beacon, we will enhance our capabilities to serve state partners, health plans and employer groups as they seek to address consumer behavioral health needs.”
Beacon Health Options helps manage care for nearly 3 million beneficiaries with mental illness or substance use disorder, helping to coordinate care between providers, offering employee assistance, work/life support, and specialty programs for autism and depression.
Beacon Health Options is not a payer, but instead contracts with different payers to help manage mental and behavioral health for beneficiaries. It also works with employers to help offer this as a benefit to workers.
The acquisition by Anthem will allow Beacon Health Options to fully scale its offerings, the organizations said. In combination with Anthem’s existing mental and behavioral health management programs, the pair will be able to promote patient-centered care.
Following its acquisition, Beacon Health Options says it will be able to improve care and care outcomes for more individuals by having access to a larger breadth of care management tools. Equipped with the same services Anthem already offers, Beacon Health Options will be able to expand the number of patients it serves.
The acquisition will also lead to one of the largest behavioral health networks, thus expanding patient access to care, Anthem and Beacon Health Options stated.
Once the acquisition has been completed, Beacon Health Options will work as an arm of Anthem’s Diversified Business Group. Beacon Health Options president and CEO Russell C. Petrella, PhD, will stay on as a part of the Diversified Business Group, as well as other key members of the Beacon Health Options leadership team.
The acquisition was a natural fit, Petrella said, considering both Beacon Health Options’ and Anthem’s dedication to improving behavioral and mental health.
“We are excited to partner with Anthem to serve the behavioral health needs of more than 60 million Americans,” Petrella noted. “Our member-focused, integrated clinical care model helps individuals and their families cope with their physical and behavioral health challenges. Together, we will expand access and enhance the quality of care for our mutual members. I am proud of the talented and committed team at Beacon, and we look forward to our future with Anthem.”
Healthcare payers are increasingly looking to move into the behavioral health space, partnering with different providers and management groups to expand patient access.
Earlier this month, UnitedHealth’s Optum announced a partnership with telemental health app Talksapce. The healthcare payer will make Talkspace available to its nearly 2 million members.
“With all of our groundbreaking, strategic relationships, millions of members will benefit from unprecedented access to our services through managed behavioral healthcare,” said Lynn Hamilton, Talkspace’s chief commercial officer. “It is a testament to over two years of efforts to build the infrastructure, capabilities and industry-leading, evidence-based quality of care needed to deliver a healthcare solution that can improve accessibility at scale.”
These partnerships and acquisitions underscore the emphasis healthcare payers are putting on mental and behavioral health. As the healthcare industry continues to value mental health equally as much as it does physical health, payers will increasingly need to ramp up its efforts to create care access parity.
These partnerships could make it possible for more patients to access behavioral and mental healthcare.
Date: June 11, 2019
Source: Health Payer Intelligence