You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade to the latest version for the best experience. Upgrade your browser now.
Skip Navigation

Blue Shield of California Expands Mental Health Services Via Telehealth, Waives Cost-Sharing For Teladoc Telehealth Through May 31

Dr. Terry Gilliland explains the new policies

We are living in unprecedented times, not experienced in the last 100 years. The coronavirus or COVD-19, is causing worldwide disruptions in our work lives, family ties and economic activity. For the last three weeks, we have been sheltering-in-place, resulting in challenges to our daily routines. In addition, social distancing can easily lead to feelings of separation and loss of community, stress and anxiety.

Dr. Terry Gilliland

Blue Shield of California is addressing these concerns by using technology to expand access to behavioral health services so members can receive the care they need when they need it. By providing members with mental health services via phone, app or video conferencing, either with their current therapist or a new provider, we are ensuring 100 percent continuity of care while allowing practitioners and members to remain in their homes to reduce exposure and transmission of coronavirus. 

Telebehavioral health sessions conducted during the COVID-19 period are covered in the same way in-person visits are covered. All credentialed and contracted behavioral healthcare providers are now permitted to conduct telehealth video sessions for all routine services and certain Advanced Behavioral Analysis, Intensive Outpatient Treatment Programs and Partial Hospitalization Program services. If a member is unable to participate in a face-to-face telehealth video session, outpatient providers may also conduct sessions via telephone. So, if members need care, they can call their provider to see how to receive services via their phone, Facetime or Skype.

We also are expanding telebehavioral health services coverage to all members, regardless of whether they previously utilized telehealth or if their plan explicitly includes telehealth provisions. And we are eliminating member cost sharing for Teladoc telehealth services through May 31.

For members who need tools to help them manage stress on their own, Sanvello, a top-rated emotional resilience app for stress, depression and anxiety, is now available with complimentary premium services and programming through July 31 at

Additionally, we have adapted our Wellvolution diet and lifestyle programs to support members during this uncertain time. These 100 percent virtual programs are customized to meet current challenges, supporting members to take better care of their physical and emotional health while they remain at home.