Behavioral Health Optimization provider network initiative: Frequently asked questions

December 15, 2021

‚ÄčThese frequently asked questions (FAQs) were developed to answer questions about the Independence Blue Cross (Independence) new behavioral health provider network. Effective January 2023, Independence is bringing specific behavioral health management services in-house. We are establishing a robust and comprehensive behavioral health network.

If you cannot find the information you are looking for here and have further questions, please email us at ibcbh@ibx.com.

This document will be updated as additional information becomes available.

1.    Why is Independence establishing its own network?

Independence is taking an innovative approach to behavioral health for its members that considers their entire wellness. This includes the patient's physical and behavioral health, and equitable access to care. 

2.    Will the reimbursement rates change? Are they competitive?

Independence has standard rates that take market competitive rates into consideration.

3.    How can I access the rates?

A fee schedule of codes will be included along with the contract for the behavioral health provider to review. These rates are not effective until January 1, 2023. Please contact Magellan Healthcare, Inc. (Magellan) regarding current rate questions.

4.    How will the renewed contract affect providers?

Providers will become part of the new Independence behavioral health network and will continue to be participating providers. As of January 1, 2023, those who do not sign a new contract with Independence will become non-participating providers.

5.    Will it change the way you pay providers?

It may change for some providers. We will load reimbursement into the claim system that adjudicates the claims. Payments will be made through electronic funds transfer (EFT), though some exceptions may apply. Additional information about EFT registration will be provided.

6.    Will it affect my current EFT set up?

If you are currently set up with EFT for Magellan, that will not change. However, you will need to register for EFT with Independence.

7.    Is Independence Administrators included in the new network?

Independence Administrators will be included with Independence contracts.

8.    Can Licensed Social Workers (LSW) see clients with Independence insurance and work under supervision?

All professionals must hold a current license in their specialty at the highest level in the state in which they practice. Supervision of LSWs by a psychiatrist is not permitted. Each rendering provider must be individually credentialed to provide services to Independence members. Please refer to the current Magellan credentialing criteria, which can be found at https://www.magellanprovider.com/media/11915/b_indivcrit.pdf

9.    Is there a provider contact for credentialing questions or issues?

Please contact IBCBH@ibx.com with additional questions. Questions regarding current contracting and credentialing should be directed to Magellan.

10.  Will there be a new contact in the future?

In the summer of 2022, we will release additional contact information required to work with our network. Questions regarding current contracting and credentialing should be directed to Magellan.

11.  How do I end my current contract if I am not satisfied with the compensation rates?

Please contact Magellan for current contract and fee questions.

12.  If we add a new therapist, should we add them to the contract or apply for a new contract?

Independence contracts with the group practice, who in turn employs the behavioral clinicians. Independence credentials each new therapist and links the therapist to the practice. We do not contract with the individual therapist, only the group. Independence does contract with individual providers in a solo practice.

13.  Will the change impact claim submissions?

There is no impact to claim submissions. All behavioral health claims are currently submitted to Independence today. That will not change. 

14.  Is there someone I can contact regarding submitting claims?

If you have claims questions for your new contract, you can call Provider Services at 1-800-ASK-BLUE (1-800-275-2583).

15.  How will the new contract impact general billing?

If a provider has both a medical contract and a behavioral health contract, they must use the appropriate taxonomy codes when they are billing for behavioral health services to determine which fee schedule is applied. This is the same process used today.

16.  What if I am a participating provider and I have not yet received a contract?

Please contact us at ibcbh@ibx.com.

17.  How will I receive the contract?

Provider contracts have been sent via a DocuSign process where email information is available. If we do not have a confirmed email address, we sent the contracts by mail.

18.  What do non-participating providers need to do to be part of the network?

In the summer of 2022, we will reach out to providers who have requested to join the network but are not yet credentialed with our network.

19.  Can I be contracted with both Magellan and Independence?

Yes, you can maintain contracts with both entities.

20.  Why are you requesting this information when we provide this information to the CAQH database?

Independence does not have access to this information, but will in the future.

21.  Are you also contracting and credentialing Medicare Advantage psych providers?

Yes. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has determined that Master's level therapists cannot perform services for Medicare Advantage members.


Magellan Healthcare, Inc., an independent company, manages mental health and substance abuse benefits for most Independence members.