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New York tech company Headway has increased mental healthcare access in Texas since 2021

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The network of mental health providers who actively accept Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) insurance has increased by 18% since 2021, according to a study conducted by Headway, a venture capital-backed company that connects mental health care providers to insurance companies.

Headway is a New York City-based technology company that works with mental health providers to make it easier for them to accept insurance. According to the company, 70% of therapists don’t accept insurance at all, and the administrative burden of accepting insurance is a big reason.

Headway’s co-founder and CEO Andrew Adams said that’s because the medical insurance system wasn’t designed for mental health providers.

“The health insurance world is built around the medical world,” Adams said. “And the medical world has been consolidated into large hospital groups where there’s three billers manually filing insurance claims for every one doctor. The therapy world is totally different.”

Headway launched in Texas in 2021 with a few hundred mental health providers on board — a label which includes therapists, psychiatrists, and nurse practitioners — and now has a network of 4,500.

Adams said therapists who work with Headway want to see more patients, and that Headway’s services let them do so. Headway therapists saw 50,000 patients in the two-year span the study looked at, and therapists are able to see patients even sooner, according to a Headway press release.

Headway’s study also found that 12 new languages and 141 new rural zip codes are now part of the Headway network in Texas that accepts BCBSTX insurance. The mental health providers who speak those languages and work in those rural communities did not accept insurance before Headway entered the market, according to Adams.

Headway allows therapists to accept other insurance too, like Aetna, Cigna, and UnitedHealthcare, but the study focused on BCBSTX.

Adams said he was glad to be able to help more patients get access to care, and provide opportunities for providers.

“I certainly do have anecdotes, vignettes, individual therapists’ names in my head, who not only have we helped grow their business somewhat, we’ve really helped grow and launch and seed, in some sense, a generation of entrepreneurs,” he said.

Headway’s platform also allows users to search for therapists in their area, find out what their specialties are and what insurance they accept, and schedule appointments.

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