Insurers Assess Impact of COVID On Seniors’ Mental Health

Since the COVID-19 pandemic forced more seniors to stay at home and maintain a physical distance from loved ones, the impact to their mental health has been a key concern of Medicare Advantage organizations over the last year. In response, many MAOs ramped up efforts to address social isolation and loneliness and expanded their telehealth benefits to include visits with behavioral health providers. And while health plans also eased Part D restrictions to smooth members’ access to medications, a recent Health Affairs study shows that new starts of antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs among seniors were well below expected and historical levels, suggesting there may be an opportunity for insurers to better integrate pharmacy management into their whole-person care of MA members.

© 2021 MMIT

Lauren Flynn Kelly Managing Editor, Radar on Medicare Advantage

Lauren has been covering health business issues, including drug benefits and specialty pharmacy, for more than a decade. She served as editor of Drug Benefit News (the predecessor to Radar on Drug Benefits) from 2004 to 2005 and again from 2011 to 2016, and now manages Radar on Medicare Advantage. Lauren graduated from Vassar College with a B.A. in English.

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