Surging Use of Virtual and Behavioral Health

Article | March 2021

COVID-19 First-Year Impact – Surging Use of Virtual and Behavioral Health

In one of the first nationwide COVID-19 claims analyses conducted by a health plan, Cigna explored how the impact of the pandemic has altered the course of health care for its customers.

The massive acceptance and adoption of virtual care has reshaped the delivery of medical and behavioral health care. Before the pandemic, virtual visits made up just over 1% of all professional office visits that allowed for them. Today, they make up nearly 25%. There was also a sharp increase in the use of outpatient behavioral health services, which rose by 27% compared to pre-pandemic levels. In fact, the growth of virtual health has put behavioral care in particular within reach of more people, with over 60% of behavioral health customers conducting virtual sessions. This increased use of virtual behavioral health actually remained constant through the end of 2020, even while the use of virtual care for other services decreased.

Customers themselves have reported increased comfort with virtual consultations, with employees noting that addressing their behavioral health issues have led to higher productivity at work.

Read the fact sheet on the first year impact of COVID-19.

 

For more details:

View the M/A/R/C® Research survey: COVID-19’s Impact on Health Care Attitudes and Practices.

Read the Evernorth report: COVID-19 Impact on Prescription Drug Trends.

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