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If you’re struggling with drugs or alcohol, Aetna can help

Kira Garcia By Kira Garcia

If you’re struggling with alcohol or drugs, or you love someone who is, you may feel confused, scared and overwhelmed. The truth is that these problems are common, treatable health conditions. Aetna is here to offer help without judgment, whenever you’re ready. 

21 million Americans have at least one addiction.

Only 19% of Americans who need treatment get it. 


Source: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH).

 © 2021 Aetna Inc.

Aetna Care Advocate Michelle Parrish has been working with the Aetna 360 Behavioral HealthTM Program for three years and has 20 years’ experience as a social worker. Parrish says that “Addiction is absolutely a disease. Drugs and alcohol have changed the chemistry of your brain, so you have to learn to find ways to replace the dopamine you’re not getting. Acknowledging that often helps.”

How Aetna can help

Aetna member Richard started his recovery journey after his depression, a case of COVID-19 and a divorce created one of the most challenging chapters in his life. During this time, it was impossible for Richard to stay sober. His depression got worse, and he considered suicide. Luckily, Richard’s family members found the help they needed through Aetna. 

Richard is taking part in Aetna 360 Behavioral Health, an in-network Aetna program addressing mental health and substance use problems. This program looks at the big picture, taking into account physical and mental health, housing and financial issues, family and relationship dynamics and substance use disorder, to make sure members have their needs met. 

Whatever your problems may be, Aetna will connect you to trusted, cost-effective inpatient and outpatient services, located in state or out of state. And when you call Aetna, you can be sure to receive quality care recommendations while making the most of your benefits

The steps to getting the help you need 

  1. Call us at the toll-free number on your member ID card, anytime that is best for you, 24/7. We are with you every step of the way.
  2. In addition to working with your health care provider, you can work with your Aetna Care Advocate to create the goals and plan that meets your needs.
  3. You can weigh the treatment options with your Aetna Care Advocate. We can offer different types of care advice and resources based on the type and level of needs you have.
  4. Reach out to your group of friends and family for help, and keep communicating with them along with your Care Advocate.
  5. Your Care Advocate is here for you throughout your journey. 


© 2021 Aetna Inc. 

Aetna is here for you

Though many people may not think to call their insurance provider with these issues, Aetna is ready and waiting to help. Aetna’s team of licensed clinical staff is committed to giving members the best possible care advice. Tenisha McLean, a licensed clinical mental health counselor for Aetna, takes a problem-solving, supportive approach. “If a member calls, the first thing we do is explain our role,” she says. “We can link members to counseling, hospitals, and help them come up with care plan goals. We help them reach those goals.”

Aetna works with health care providers to make sure members get the care they need. While some members might benefit from the support of a program like Aetna 360 Behavioral Health, for others the first step could be weekly counseling with an individual therapist, whether by video or in person, as well as peer support options. Whatever the member’s choice may be, an Aetna Care Advocate or care manager will support them and follow their progress along with their health care provider.

Services tailored for you

For Richard, beginning treatment meant a range of support services. Because housing, physical health, nutrition and finances are also important parts of recovery, his Aetna Care Advocate took these into account. She connected him to in-network sober living options, health care providers specializing in substance use disorder, financial help and grocery delivery services. When Richard’s COVID-19 symptoms worsened, she encouraged him to return to the hospital, where he was treated for pneumonia. During the recovery journey, it’s not uncommon to encounter bumps in the road like this, whether they are physical, emotional or social. Aetna is there to support members in recovery, and their families, with these issues.

Richard is stronger now and ready to continue on his journey to recovery from substance use disorder. He’s living with a supportive family member and has re-entered a recovery program. The road ahead may be long; however, Aetna offers continued support to maintain positive momentum. Richard can also reach out to Aetna to find peer support services. Aetna partners with MAP Health Management, a national recovery program that offers support from others with a history of substance use disorder. This program helps members resolve their substance use issues in the long term and avoid possible relapses. This can be critical, since people who have themselves struggled with substance use are often best able to aid others on their recovery journeys. 

Aetna’s myStrength program is another great recovery tool. This online service can help reduce stress, anxiety and depression through exercises designed by experts. As Michelle says, talk therapy is very important for people in recovery, because “there’s a lot of life going on!” Care Advocates can anticipate this need and make sure you are connected to a counselor to support your journey in the long term, even if you’ve never received therapy before. 

Wherever you are, whatever your story, Aetna is here to support your recovery. Help is just a phone call away — don’t be afraid to reach out!

About the author

Kira Garcia is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York. Her work has been published in the New Yorker, New York Magazine, Bon Appetit and elsewhere. She has also created text and marketing strategies for cultural and social service nonprofits. 

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