How AmeriHealth Caritas is Expanding Access to On-Demand Mental Health Care

With nearly 1 in 5 adults and 1 in 6 children nationwide living with a mental or behavioral health disorder, access to mental health care is vital for Americans.

As the single largest payer for mental health services in the United States, Medicaid provides access to high-quality behavioral health services for 26% of all adults and over 3 million children living with mental or behavioral health illnesses.

The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the mental health challenges Americans faced, as many experienced prolonged stress, anxiety, and isolation. AmeriHealth Caritas DC, a Medicaid managed care organization and Modern Medicaid Alliance partner, has supported its diverse population of Medicaid enrollees during the pandemic by expanding access to on-demand mental health care through various partnerships.

Providing Accessible Care to Adults

In February 2021, 44% of adults in Washington, DC, reported experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression. Noting the importance of accessible behavioral health care, AmeriHealth Caritas DC partnered with Ginger, a telehealth company, to bring on-demand mental health services at no cost to its 110,000 Medicaid members in the nation’s capital.

AmeriHealth Caritas DC members have access to Ginger behavioral health coaches, therapists, and psychiatrists via text or video-based sessions through the Ginger app.

Research shows that there are disparities in access to and use of mental health care across race and income. To promote an equitable approach to care, AmeriHealth Caritas DC members utilizing Ginger can request a behavioral health coach that best matches their gender, sexual identity, race, ethnicity, or lived experiences.

Supporting Youth Mental Health

Medicaid provides essential mental health services to children with special health care needs through the Early, Periodic, Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment benefit. These services support the 2 in 3 children living in Washington, DC, who are enrolled in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

Earlier this year, AmeriHealth Caritas DC established a new relationship with MindRight to provide accessible mental health services to children and adolescents. The program offers emotional support services at no cost via text message for DC youth ages 13-20 covered by Medicaid. MindRight coaches are available for enrollees 24/7, creating a private, safe space for children and adolescents to work through challenges.

Like the Ginger platform, MindRight’s program works with AmeriHealth Caritas DC to provide care that is culturally-responsive to communities of color. By addressing youth mental health prevention, AmeriHealth Caritas DC and MindRight are setting their members up for a healthier future.

AmeriHealth Caritas DC’s efforts to increase access to mental health care for Medicaid enrollees highlights the essential role Medicaid plays in providing high-quality behavioral health care to adults and children in the D.C. and across the country.

For more on how the Modern Medicaid Alliance supports mental health, check out our new Medicaid and Mental Health Toolkit.