Major insurers on board to treat depression with TMS
Millions of people who have health insurance through Aetna now have the opportunity to utilize the promising deep transcranial magnetic stimulation (dTMS) treatment option for medication-resistant depression. This announcement comes on the heels of TRICARE also approving coverage for dTMS therapy this past May, and many other major insurers who have come on board in the recent past—great news for frustrated patients struggling with relentless depression who otherwise could not access dTMS treatment.
With the addition of yet another major insurer providing health coverage for dTMS comes renewed hope for relief from the devastating effects of depression. When an individual first seeks help for a major depressive episode, their mental health provider will prescribe a traditional treatment plan of antidepressants and psychotherapy. For about half the patients seeking treatment for depression, this traditional route does not provide the relief they desire.
Studies and ongoing research continue to demonstrate that utilizing an alternative treatment such as dTMS can help many people who suffer from major depressive disorder (MDD) when medication and psychotherapy fall short. dTMS is a non-invasive therapeutic method with little to no side effects for the patients who have been determined to be good candidates.
dTMS provides a painless alternative to the long list of side effects experienced by patients who first tried a regimen of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). The side effects of SSRIs include weight gain or loss, sexual dysfunction, fatigue, insomnia, restlessness, rash, and nausea.
The treatment regimen for dTMS typically includes 4-6 weeks of 20-minute sessions, five days a week. The patient is fully awake during the treatment and can drive themselves back to work or home after the session. A typical session entails gently placing a cushioned helmet over the head, designed to target the prefrontal cortex, the region of the brain associated with mood. The helmet, emitting rhythmic pulses that stimulate an electro-magnetic response in the brain, generates a magnetic field, similar to an MRI. This has the effect of stimulating areas in the neural pathways that may have been sluggish, causing the depressive symptoms.
Achieve TMS can Help
Because Aetna serves about 46 million people through its various policies and programs, the fact that it now covers dTMS therapy is exciting news for the many people suffering from MDD. Once a medical provider documents the lack of results by traditional treatment measures for a patient with a confirmed diagnosis of MDD, and if other criteria are met, the patient can then access this promising treatment.
Call us today at (866) 224-4054 and speak to one of our knowledgeable experts for answers to your questions about your Aetna plan and coverage. We are here to help!