Because behavioral health issues can frequently accompany or complicate physical health issues, WellCare of Georgia, a subsidiary of WellCare Health Plans, Inc, offers its Medicaid and Medicare Advantage members free behavioral health care services via online cognitive-based therapy programs to address common behavioral health conditions.

Through a computerized cognitive behavioral therapy suite of programs called COBALT, WellCare members can use their computers, tablets, or smartphones to focus on problem-solving and skill-building to identify thoughts, modify beliefs and change behaviors, all from the comfort of their homes. This convenient option eliminates the time and cost associated with traveling to appointments and missed work or school. COBALT is available with live support from trained behavioral health professionals.

WellCare members can sign up for self-guided, self-paced online programs for depression and mood disorders (MoodCalmer); anxiety, panic, and phobias (FearFighter); sleep difficulty and insomnia (RESTORE); and substance and alcohol misuse (SHADE).

“Offering convenient treatment options to help our members get the care they need is critical to maintaining health and well-being,” says Dauda Griffin, MD, behavioral medical director, WellCare of Georgia, in a release. “These programs are clinically proven, medication-free and have been shown to be as effective as and sometimes more effective than face-to-face therapy.”

The results are impressive. For example, SHADE has been evaluated in two randomized controlled clinical trials and is associated with significant and sustained reductions in depression, alcohol, and cannabis, equivalent to a therapist-delivered program, and greater than a brief intervention, and a supportive counseling program.

COBALT programs have received the highest rating from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration’s (SAMHSA) National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP). In its review, SAMHSA stated that the program “is effective… (and) yielded strong evidence of a favorable effect.”

As of March 31, 2016, WellCare serves approximately 583,000 Medicaid and PeachCare for Kids plan members, 37,000 Medicare Advantage plan members, and 24,000 Medicare Prescription Drug Plan members in Georgia.