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How Traditional Health Care Is Expanding Its Digital Mental Health Offerings

The past two years have taught us that mental health is just as important as physical health. Despite this, many in California still face obstacles trying to get mental health services covered by their insurance carrier. Although mental health services are considered an essential health benefit for Californians, a 2019 Milliman report found that patients are nearly six times more likely to pay out of pocket for a behavioral health specialist visit than a general practitioner visit. Furthermore, just 56% of psychiatrists accept commercial insurance compared to 90% of non-mental health physicians.

headspace wellvolution

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for mental health services has continuously increased, while coverage options have remained steady. Innovative and affordable healthcare options have recently emerged thanks to technology and out-of-the-box thinkers in Silicon Valley, but health plan members continue to struggle to find resources covered by their plan. 

This year on October 26, Blue Shield of California announced the addition of Headspace to its Wellvolution platform, powered by Solera Health. This collaboration now provides Headspace’s Premium meditation and stress reduction tools and content for no added cost to Blue Shield of California members. This subscription offers hundreds of tools and more than 1,000 exercises to reduce stress and improve mental well-being. Headspace research has demonstrated that the app’s guided meditations can reduce stress and anxiety, improve sleep, and increase focus, self-esteem, and resilience. The company has found:

●      Ten days of Headspace utilization resulted in a 14% decrease in stress.

●      Eight weeks of using Headspace resulted in a 31% decrease in anxiety symptoms and a 46% decrease in depressive symptoms.

In 2019, Blue Shield of California launched Wellvolution to provide tools beyond standard healthcare coverage and promote healthy practices. The Wellvolution platform includes tools for diabetes management, healthy eating, and smoking cessation tools at no added cost to Blue Shield of California members. Headspace is the first mindfulness and mental health program to be made available on the Wellvolution platform. Other tools available on the Wellvolution platform include Weight Watchers and Betr Health for weight management as well as Virta for Diabetes treatment and reversal. 

“There’s no question that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has elevated stress levels for everyone,” said Bryce Williams, vice president, Mind Body Medicine at Blue Shield of California.  “With Headspace, our members receive a scientifically validated, clinically effective solution to improve their mental health and wellbeing.”  

Blue Shield of California’s Senior Director of Lifestyle Medicine, Angie Kalousek, recently sat down with Dr. Clare Purvis, vice president, Clinical Product and Content at Headspace to discuss the partnership, mental health, and self-care. For more information on Wellvolution and Headspace, visit

To learn more about how a small amount of self-care can have a big impact, listen to the latest podcast episode ofDose of Dialogue: