Anthem (NYSE: ANTM) is putting more money toward growing its artificial intelligence and digital capabilities. The move is likely indicative of the insurer’s long-term plan to continue virtual behavioral health care delivery even post-pandemic.
“The way that care is going to be accessed here in the future is slightly different than how it has been accessed in the past,” Anthem CFO John Gallina said Thursday during the company’s Q3 earning call. “It’s all about simplifying and improving the customer experience.”
Indianapolis-based Anthem (NYSE: ANTM) is one of the largest health insurance plan providers in the U.S. It’s also the owner of Beacon Health Options, a behavioral health organization that serves more than 36 million people nationwide.
As far as Anthem’s digital investments go, Gallina said he’d dive into the details in a few months at the company’s 2021 virtual investor day. While the insurer’s interest in digital isn’t new, President and CEO Gail Boudreaux said it’s intensified over the past several months.
“What we found is that there is an opportunity to accelerate those investments as a result of the increased adaption that we’ve seen over the course of the pandemic,” Boudreaux said on the earnings call.
She offered up Psych Hub — a digital platform of mental health education — as an example.
During COVID-19, Anthem teamed up with Psych Hub to provide a range of mental health resources to Anthem consumers to help them cope with stress, depression and anxiety. The resource hub is the product of a collaboration among several national leaders in the mental health community.
“We are seeing our consumers more actively engage with those assets,” Boudreaux said, explaining the impetus for the investment acceleration.
And if interest is any indication of what’s to come, it’s likely behavioral health will remain an important part of Anthem’s digital and virtual future.
“Telehealth usage has been strong, and we see that trend continuing, particularly for behavioral health services,” Boudreaux said. “Since the onset of the health crisis, telehealth now comprises 40% to 50% of all behavioral health services compared to low-single-digit usage pre-COVID.”