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Behavioral Health Professionals

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Counseling & Therapy

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Terms & Definitions


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What types of behavioral health professionals are included in Cigna's behavioral health network?

Ph.D./M.S. Level These are therapists – psychologists (i.e., LP), family therapists (i.e., LMFT, LMC), social workers (i.e., LCSW, LSW), nurse practitioners (i.e., ARNP, APRN), and clinicians (i.e., LMHC) - who primarily use talk therapy to help you assess the difficulty you are experiencing and identify solutions. All therapists contracted by Cigna are licensed and offer treatment through independent practices. In addition, therapists' specialties are identified by Cigna as part of the credentialing process.

M.D./D.O./N.P Level MD's and DO's are doctors who have a specialty in Psychiatry or Addiction Medicine. In addition to diagnosing problems and treating them through talk therapy, an M.D., D.O., or NP (nurse practitioner) can prescribe medication for behavioral health problems if necessary. Many psychiatrists also have subspecialties such as: Children and Adolescents; Geriatric; Addiction Medicine, etc. All M.D./D.O.s contracted by Cigna are licensed and offer treatment through their independent practices.

Here is a list of abbreviations often found after behavioral health providers' names:

Types of Degrees:
MSW Masters Social Work
MS Master of Science
MA Master of Arts
RN Registered Nurse
PHD Doctorate of Philosophy - Psychology
PSYD Doctorate of Psychology
EDD Doctorate of Education
ARPN Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner
MD Doctor of Medicine - Psychiatry
DO Doctor of Osteopathy - Psychiatry


Types of Licensure:
LISCW Licensed Clinical Social Worker
LCSW Licensed Clinical Social Worker
CCDC Certified Chemical Dependency Counselor
LMFT Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
LCP Licensed Clinical Psychologist
LP Licensed Psychologist
LPC Licensed Professional Counselor
MD Doctor of Medicine - Psychiatry
DO Doctor of Osteopathy - Psychiatry

Many states have different names for licensures; these are usually master's level counselors. Some of the abbreviations include: CCSW, LPCC, CADC, CCSW, LCPC, CCPC, CICSW, CPC, MFCC, LMHC, CMFT, and CMHC.

To find a list of in-network providers please call the toll-free number on the back of your card or view our Provider Directory here.

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What is a hospital or behavioral program?

A Hospital is a hospital specializing in behavioral health treatment. A Behavioral Program typically takes place at a hospital or clinic setting. These services typically include but are not limited to:

  • Detoxification, Inpatient, and Residential Treatment;
  • Partial Hospitalization;
  • Intensive Outpatient Programs;
  • Emergency Assessments; and
  • Other specialized, higher level of care treatments

If you need emergency services, please go immediately to the nearest emergency room or behavioral health facility. Your plan benefits will apply to services needed to evaluate or stabilize treatment for a condition that is reasonably considered to be an emergency behavioral health condition.

ALERT! Most plans require pre-authorization for hospital care or other behavioral programs. Please call your personal advocate for more information, using the number on the back of your ID card.

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What is a clinic?

A Clinic is a professional practice where multiple professionals work together and, in some instances, provide complementary services. In behavioral health, clinic offices can range from therapists only to a multidisciplinary team of therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists.

It is important to know that some clinics require a patient to receive care only from their professionals. Finally, please note that not all professionals in a clinic may be contracted with Cigna. When choosing a clinic, ask to be referred to a professional who participates in the Cigna network.

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How do you define confidentiality? Who will have access to my personal information?

Information on mental health or substance abuse treatment of adults* served by Cigna Behavioral Health is confidential and will not be disclosed to any person(s), with the following exceptions:

  • Cigna Behavioral Health will communicate with your treating therapist/psychiatrist regarding your diagnosis, symptoms, treatment goals, and treatment plan in the process of administering behavioral health benefits or EAP services.
  • When an appropriately written release of information document is completed with your signature that instructs Cigna Behavioral Health to disclose your specific information to the person named.
  • Cigna Behavioral Health will communicate the name of your treating therapist/psychiatrist to your primary care physician - and the name of your primary care physician to your treating therapist/psychiatrist - with your verbal or written approval. This is performed as a courtesy to encourage coordination of care between the two. You can expect your primary care physician and/or your treating therapist/psychiatrist to ask you to sign a written consent to release information. The consent to release information will allow for the disclosure of specific details regarding your behavioral health and/or medical care, when this type of collaboration is expected to improve the outcome of your overall treatment.
  • Mandatory reporting is required when someone is in imminent danger of hurting themselves or others.
  • As otherwise allowed or required by law.
  • To your health plan or plan sponsor for purposes of plan administration.
NOTE: Being a subscriber does not give you access to information about the access or care received by another individual on the policy who is not your legal responsibility, or also, a biological parent or legal guardian who does not have to be "on the policy" to have access to information about the benefit utilization and services rendered for his/her child, unless court documentation is provided to Cigna Behavioral Health demonstrating the parent has no legal rights to such information about his/her child.

*Adult age of consent is defined by state law.

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What does "medical necessity" mean?

Cigna Behavioral Health will work with your provider to determine the appropriate level of care and duration of treatment that is necessary to decrease the symptoms that you are currently experiencing. You and your provider will develop a plan that will include specific behaviors/goals indicating that continuation of treatment is no longer necessary.

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What if things aren't working out with the behavioral health professional I'm seeing?

If you need to change behavioral health professionals because the original professional is no longer available or you are not making the progress you expected, you can call the toll-free number on your insurance ID card. Tell us what isn't working with your behavioral health professional. We will be happy to help you locate another.

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Can I call and talk to a 'live' person if I have questions?

CBH staff are available 24 hours a day to help obtain information on anything from urgent clinical needs to Work/Life issues, and would be happy to help with any needs you have. Also, if you have CBH's employee assistance (EAP) or integrated programs, continue to call CBH first to gain full access to your available benefits and the help of our Personal Advocates.

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What do I do if I have questions about my claim?

In general, if you have a behavioral health claim question, you can call Cigna Behavioral Health Customer Service at the number on the back of your ID card. Cigna Behavioral Health does not pay all claims for Mental Health/Substance Abuse, however. Some accounts have a dedicated Customer Service/Claim line and you should dial that number for answers to your questions if your benefit plan is set up as such.

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How soon should I expect an appointment?

Cigna Behavioral Health believes that needed care should be available to you in a timely way. The following timeframes for getting an appointment have been shared with our network providers. If you are unable to arrange for an appointment that meets these expectations, call Cigna at the number on the back of your ID card, and our staff can assist you.

Type of Care Needed: Time from Request for Care:
  Non-Life Threatening Emergency   Within 6 Hours
  Urgent   Within 48 Hours
  Routine   Within 10 working days
  Office Wait Times   15 minutes or less

If you need emergency services, please go immediately to the nearest emergency room or behavioral health facility. Your plan benefits will apply to services needed to evaluate or stabilize treatment for a condition that is reasonably considered to be an emergency behavioral health condition.

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