The national network of 36 independent health plans is expanding coverage for an estimated one in every three Americans, giving them no-cost access to telehealth services from in-network providers.
The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is expanding telehealth coverage for its members, thus improving access to care for roughly one out of every three Americans.
The national network of 36 independent BCBS companies announced Thursday that it would boost connected health coverage for the next 90 days, in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This will include waiving cost-sharing for telehealth services for fully-insured members, and it applies to all in-network providers and clinically appropriate services.
“The safety and security of our members – and of all Americans – remains our paramount priority during these unprecedented times,” BCBSA President and CEO Scott Serota said in a press release. “Today, Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) companies announced a new policy regarding telehealth services that ensures members have swift access to the care needed to get and stay healthy – at no cost to them.”
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The move mirrors actions by several states to mandate Medicaid coverage for telehealth services at the same rate as in-person care, as well as recent moves by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to improve Medicare coverage.
Serota said his organization is encouraging care providers to use “social distancing-encouraged capabilities such as video, chat and/or e-visits” to collaborate with patients, many of which are being asked to ride out the pandemic at home.
While the provider community is looking to telemedicine and mHealth platforms to improve access to care and keep potentially infected patients quarantined, payers are seen as a vital component because they can help reduce the cost of accessing care at a time when many people aren’t working and don’t have the ability to meet co-pays.
Source: mHealth Intelligence