Behavioral Health Treatment Helps Reduce Total Cost of Care, New Evernorth Analysis Finds
First-of-its-kind analysis proves medical and pharmacy costs can decrease by more than $3,000 over two years when people receive outpatient behavioral health care.

BLOOMFIELD, Conn., Nov. 16, 2021 – New research released today by Evernorth, Cigna Corporation’s health services business, shows that when people with a diagnosed behavioral condition receive treatment, total health care costs decrease. The analysis revealed that behavioral health treatment in an outpatient setting, such as a psychologist’s office or virtual visits, leads to fewer emergency department visits and inpatient hospitalizations, decreasing costs by up to $1,377 per person in one year and up to $3,109 per person over two years.

“The findings are ground-breaking, and demonstrate there is immense opportunity to help people throughout a lifelong mental health journey,” said Eva Borden, president of Evernorth Behavioral Health. “Behavioral outpatient care is a vital tool that helps a person explore symptoms that may lead to mental health distress, so they can enact new thought patterns and learn coping skills. These critical skills can help people feel better – and reduce avoidable medical services over time.”

The research assessed medical, behavioral, and pharmacy claims data for 275,000 customers over four years who were newly diagnosed with a behavioral health condition, such as anxiety, depression, or substance use disorder. Additional findings include:

  • On average, first year medical and pharmacy cost savings occurred among people with at least three outpatient visits with a behavioral health provider.
  • The savings offset the cost of behavioral care, resulting in a positive return on investment (ROI) for health plan sponsors.
  • Both the savings and ROI were sustainable over two years.

The full report—Impact of Behavioral Health Treatment on Total Cost of Care—can be found at Evernorth.com.

About Evernorth

Evernorth creates and connects premier health services offerings, including benefits management, pharmacy, care solutions, insights and intelligence. With an open approach to partnering across the health care landscape, we deliver innovative and flexible solutions for health plans, employers and government programs. Evernorth capabilities are powered by our family of companies, including Express Scripts, Accredo, eviCore and MDLIVE, along with holistic Evernorth platforms and solutions that elevate health and drive progress for people and businesses. All Evernorth solutions are serviced and provided by or through operating affiliates of Evernorth Health, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cigna Corporation, or third-party partners. Learn more at Evernorth.com.

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