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Active Members Information: Mental Health & Substance Abuse


Optum [formerly United Behavioral Health (UBH)] provides mental health and substance abuse rehabilitation treatment services, whether inpatient or outpatient. (Inpatient detoxification services will be coordinated by Optum but services are provided through your PPO, HMO or Bronze Health Coverage, when clinically necessary.)

Optum provides a specialized network of professional providers and treatment facilities, which have been thoroughly evaluated according to comprehensive guidelines. Optum network providers have not only fulfilled specific selection and credentialing criteria, but are as committed to your health and well-being as any health plan provider.

With the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Program you should experience lower out-of-pocket expenses and no claim forms as long as you use Optum in-network providers. However, you have the freedom to receive eligible mental health services from out-of-network providers, but at a lower level of benefit coverage.

Obtaining Network Care

  • Please contact Optum at 1-800-924-0105. You will speak to a trained counselor who will gather basic information to understand your situation and needs.
  • Based on the information you provide, the counselor will refer you to the best-qualified mental health or substance abuse professional located near your place of work or home. You will be able to get an in-person appointment, normally within 72 hours; sooner if your condition warrants.
  • After your initial meeting(s), the mental health or substance abuse professional will discuss your needs and treatment goals with an Optum counselor and an individual treatment plan will be developed.
  • Your treatment will be based on the individual plan developed by you, your mental health or substance abuse professional and the Optum care manager. It may include short-term outpatient counseling; more intensive, structured outpatient counseling; day-treatment programs, inpatient residential care; or hospital care. During your treatment, an Optum care manager will monitor your progress and work with your provider to ensure that your needs are met.

Optum Behavioral Health Virtual Visits

You are now able to talk and see a mental health provider online, in the privacy and comfort of your own home. Virtual visits are a convenient option for members who have busy schedules, have difficulty getting to appointments or where it may be a distance to visit a provider.

So how does the virtual visit work?

  • Log on to, 24/7 with your computer. Find a link to this site on
  • Enter the site by using the access code, Pennsylvania, or sign in with your username and password.
  • Click on the Find a virtual visit provider in the Mental Health Care Search box
  • Click on the box virtual visits on the provider search page.
  • Use your State Employees Assistance Benefit (SEAP) (SEAP members are entitled to four free visits) or your mental health and substance abuse benefit. Select the state where you are located. Providers must be licensed to practice in the state you are located in at the time services are provided; however, they do not need to be physically located in the state.
  • Narrow your search by area of expertise and other criteria.
  • Select a provider, and you will find “Schedule a virtual visit” under the provider’s name and address.
  • Schedule an appointment online or call to schedule. Complete insurance information and provide a credit card number so the appropriate copay may be charged – $5 for Custom HMO members and $20 for PPO members. You can schedule using Internet Explorer but when it’s time for your virtual visit session, you will need to use Google Chrome or Firefox as your browser.


Communicate with a licensed therapist via text, voice and video message from your phone or computer by using Talkspace, an online therapy service. It’s private, confidential and convenient.

Here's how Talkspace can fit your life:

  • Message a licensed therapist, 24/7.
  • Find a therapist with an online matching tool.
  • Start therapy within hours of choosing your therapist.
  • Receive a response from your therapist daily, five days a week.
  • Schedule live video sessions, when needed.
  • Download the Talkspace app on your mobile phone or computer.

To access Talkspace:

  • Scroll down to Popular tools on the liveandworkwell site and go to the Talkspace box that says Get 24/7 support.
  • Pick a time for a free 10-minute video session orientation with your therapist.
  • Create a username and password and begin messaging the therapist and download the Talkspace app. You can set a password on your phone so no one can get into this messaging area.
  • See the text messages as the come in and keep them for later review. You can also schedule video sessions when it's convenient.

For more information, refer to your Summary Plan Description or contact PEBTF.