One in five Canadians per year will experience a mental health problem or illness, resulting in $20 billion of lost productivity and absenteeism. And, in a recent survey, the Conference Board of Canada found that 84% of respondents reported worsening mental health concerns since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Depression and anxiety are the most common mental health concerns. At Pacific Blue Cross, these conditions account for 25% of all new long-term disability claims we receive (and are the costliest to address when drugs are factored into treatment). A quarter of these costs could be avoided by earlier interventions.
Substance Use Disorders represent 33% of employee mental health issues, but modern treatment has remained out of reach for most Canadians.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) offers short-term, goal-oriented treatment options. Its practical, structured approach is aimed at problem solving and skill building, helping individuals change how they think and behave so they can change the way they feel and better manage the stress and emotions of day-to-day life.
Half of those who feel they’ve suffered from these conditions have not sought care due to cost, lack of program availability or mental health insurance, long waitlists, or stigma—or they live in a remote location without easy access to the care they need.
Pacific Blue Cross has enhanced our mental health coverage with new online CBT (iCBT) programs, which help to empower plan members, reduce barriers, and respond to the current pandemic challenges.
Our online cognitive behavioral therapy (iCBT) partners can help plan members with mild to moderate depression and anxiety as well as post-traumatic stress disorder, eating and sleep disorders, insomnia, pain management, panic disorder, and substance use issues. There’s even help with anxiety related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Plan members receive one-on-one support from a registered therapist while following a structured therapeutic approach that they can do on their own time, in their own way.
Digital tools and therapists with expertise that is completely private and data secure.
Action oriented, learning focused programs that help plan members feel accountable for their progress and provide support as plan members apply new skills to daily life.
*Online CBT programs from other vendors are not eligible for coverage.
AbilitiCBT by LifeWorks can help plan members deal with anxiety, depression, pain management, insomnia, anxiety and depression, anxiety related to a pandemic, grief and loss, trauma, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and social anxiety. Throughout these clinically effective virtual mental health programs, you’ll be guided by a therapist who checks in regularly.
Getting started is easy. After completing a 5-7-minute assessment, plan members can begin right away!
ALAViDA is a one-stop-shop for any level of substance use – alcohol and drugs. It's a modern approach for all members, whether they want to be proactive about their health, or face mild, moderate or severe challenges. They set their goals. We help them meet them. No awkward conversations, no shame and 100% confidential. Members access evidence-based care all in one place: resources available 24/7, coaches, therapists and physicians they can text or meet securely from home.
When sadness, anxiety, pain or trauma become overwhelming, you deserve treatment that is designed to care for you. TELUS Health Specialized Digital Therapy Program consists of weekly personalized treatment modules featuring guidance with a genuine human touch. You will be followed by dedicated mental health professionals, including a licensed therapist who monitors your progress and provides feedback, and a behavioural health coach who will be there to encourage you every step of the way.
MindBeacon digitally connects people to therapists focused on improving mental health. The MindBeacon Therapist Guided Program takes everything that’s effective about face-to-face Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and has made it far more accessible. MindBeacon has helped thousands of Canadians with depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, and insomnia.
Each of these programs begins with an online assessment, which, depending on the program, can take anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes to complete. The assessment is reviewed by a therapist to ensure the program is suitable for the individual, and the information is used to tailor a therapeutic approach that best suits their needs.
With most programs, an initial consultation with a therapist by video or by phone begins the process. The individual follows the program online or via an app that’s downloaded on a smartphone or tablet. A therapist will review their progress and check in along the way.
iCBT programs involve therapist guided modules, including activities and exercises to learn and apply cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) skills to real life situations. With iCBT, members can work through the modules at their own pace, at any time, from wherever they choose.
Working directly with a therapist, either in-person or virtually, on CBT skills would usually be during regularly scheduled sessions. The therapist may also employ a number of possible techniques during the course of therapy, rather than focusing solely on CBT. If included with your Pacific Blue Cross benefits package, therapy sessions would be covered under ‘paramedical practitioner’ coverage (practitioner types can include Psychologist, Social Worker or Clinical Counsellor, depending on plan specific coverages).
iCBT is added for most groups and individuals that have coverage for psychology or counselling benefits. Members can log into their Member Profile account to confirm. It’s available to Pacific Blue Cross plan members and their dependents.
It’s entirely up to them. Learn more about each iCBT provider and their programs.
No. Pacific Blue Cross has done a thorough review of each of these programs based on eligibility criteria that uses evidence-based research conducted by the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH). Therefore, only vendors who have been through this review are included as Eligible Vendors for claims reimbursement. We will continue to evaluate other iCBT vendors to augment this list.
It depends on the program and how quickly the individual works through it. They vary between 6 to 20 weeks to complete.
Each of the online CBT providers has a different cost structure for their programs. Plan members pay the cost up front and submit the claim to Pacific Blue Cross for reimbursement, up to your plan’s annual maximum under existing Psychology benefit limits. If your plan offers a Health Spending Account, it can be used to claim the balance, if applicable.
No. They should immediately contact a physician or a mental health professional for assistance.
|Mind Beacon||AbilitiCBT by LifeWorks||ALAViDA||TELUS Health Specialized Digital Therapy|
|Areas of Focus||
Manage alcohol use
Substance use management: alcohol, cannabis, opioids (prescribed or otherwise), cocaine, amphetamines, barbiturates, others
Awareness and tracking
Mental Health Toolkit
Pandemic Support Program
Returning to the Workplace
|Average Duration||6-10 weeks||12 weeks||8-20 weeks||8-12 weeks|
|Post Therapy Access||12 months||12 months||12 months||12 months|
(includes psychological diagnosis)
|$500||$700||$495 for each program|
|Mental Health Specialists||Psychologists, Registered Social Workers||Registered Social Workers, Psychologists and Psychotherapists||Board-certified addiction Physicians, Psychologist, Coaches and Registered Social Workers.||Psychologists, Registered Social Workers|
|*Online CBT programs from other vendors are not eligible for coverage.|