Blue Cross Blue Shield, the largest health insurance provider in Massachusetts says it’ll pay for customers to receive more end-of-life counseling.

The health insurer’s move was inspired by the experience of its CEO, Andrew Dreyfus. Dreyfus recently lost his father, mother, and brother. In each case, he says, they had end-of-life conversations with doctors, allowing them to make choices that resulted in gentle, painless deaths surrounded by family.

Dreyfus says it struck him that Blue Cross should offer its members the same experience. The insurer already pays for end-of-life conversations between doctors and patients; now Blue Cross is extending its coverage to include mental health professionals.

Dreyfus says he hopes people come out of these conversations with specific answers to the question, “What makes life worth living?”

"So when they encounter choices—medical choices—that might limit their ability to do certain things, you have a basis to evaluate what’s really important to you," Dreyfus said. "And these are conversations that you can’t just do once because your views may evolve over time.”

Dreyfus says in some cases the extended coverage might cost Blue Cross more, but in other cases it might save the insurer money if people chose not to have high-cost intervention services at the end of life.

"In the past there wasn’t a code where you could bill for this," he said. "And so it was a sense that it wasn’t encouraged and reimbursed and doctors had to do it on their own time. And secondly we’re extending that—and this may be the first in the country to do—to mental health professionals as well.”