Anthem Inc. (NYSE: ANTM) revealed that it has developed a new product called Behavioral Health Advantage (BHA) and plans to launch in 2022.
The new product was mentioned briefly during its third-quarter earnings conference call by Peter Haytaian, Anthem’s executive vice president and president of Anthem’s diversified business group and IngenioRX.
Details on the new initiative were sparse but an Anthem representative told BHB in an email it will focus on “whole-person health, improved navigation to care and employer tools for their workforce’s mental well-being.
The new product will be offered in addition to Anthem’s standard behavioral health benefits and available to self-insured customers with less than 12,500 employees.
Benefits of BHA include 24/7 access to a resource center for real-time crisis management and navigation. There will also be specialty care management programs for substance use disorder and long-term COVID-19 specialized care.
Anthem also plans to utilize predictive analytics to identify members at high risk of opioid or alcohol-related negative health outcomes and provide supportive services to help lower their risk.
The company has already started selling the new product and plans will go into effect Jan. 1, 2022.
Development of new employer-focused product
Haytaian said on the earnings call that the company developed BHA during his time as president of commercial and specialty business. He switched to the executive vice president and president of Anthem’s diversified business group on Oct. 5.
Haytaian said that Anthem was developing new product offerings that come out of embracing the clinical programs and expertise of Beacon Health Options.
“I think there will continue to be tremendous opportunities around behavioral,” Haytaian said. “One of the areas that I’m very focused on is also virtual and the importance of virtual. We’ve seen an exponential increase in virtual services as it relates to Beacon and penetrating our portfolio, in that regard, will become very important going forward.”
Anthem completed its acquisition of Beacon Health Options, a behavioral health service provider with a huge reach, in March 2020. Beacon serves 44 million people in all 50 states and overlaps with 13 million Anthem customers according to its website.
Glenn MacFarlane took over as President of Beacon in August and is focused on accelerating the use of value-based care contracts in the organization.
“Within the next three-plus years to have all our spend linked to some sort of value-based arrangement,” he told BHB during an interview. “That’s the goal that I’ve set with my team, and I definitely believe it’s achievable.”
Anthem sees big opportunity to grow behavioral health business
In the call, Haytaian and other executives including CEO Gail Boudreaux talked about the focus that Anthem is giving to behavioral health as well as to virtual services in its drive to bring all of its capability to bear on cost reduction.
“We recently launched a new offering to test the full suite of our capability in the form of a virtual primary care-first product, which we expect to demonstrate meaningful reduction in overall cost of care and greater member satisfaction,” Boudreaux said. “We are already selling virtual-first risk-based commercial plans in certain markets across each of Anthem’s 14 Blue states for the 2022 plan year.”
Even outside of the new BHA product, Haytaian said the company has high hopes for Beacon and behavioral health.
“So you think about behavioral health and the opportunities there with Beacon as a leading asset in the space, and we think there’s tremendous opportunity to grow that business and diversify that business,” Haytaian said.