Health Insurance Plans Covered Telehealth

It’s Time that All Health Insurance Plans Covered Telehealth


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It took the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 (CAA23) to offer the much-anticipated telehealth relief that participants in High Inducible Health Plans (HDHPs) needed and wanted. Now that the relief is a matter of law, it is time to move forward with all health insurance plans. It’s time that every plan covered telehealth.

Telehealth is no longer the stuff of theories. Thanks to the COVID pandemic and its subsequent shutdowns, telehealth was forced into the mainstream. What we have learned since proves that it works. We have proof that patients like it, want it, and expect it. We have proof that healthcare providers are happy with the results observed during the pandemic. So happy, in fact, that the vast majority continue offering telehealth services.

The HDHP Problem

A post published in early 2023 on the BenefitMall website explains that prior to the start of the pandemic, HDHPs – when combined with health savings accounts (HSAs) – were prohibited from covering telehealth visits until a patient’s full deductible had been reached. That rule was temporarily put on hold during the pandemic. According to BenefitMall, CAA23 made the change permanent.

HDHPs are now able to fully cover telemedicine visits irrespective of whether deductible limits have been reached. For patients, this means no out-of-pocket expenses when telemedicine services are utilized. Stop and think about that for just one minute. No out-of-pocket expenses. That means no copays or other fees.

The Proof Is in the Numbers

All health insurance plans should voluntarily follow suit by offering full telehealth coverage. If there are any questions as to why, just follow the numbers. According to the American Medical Association (AMA):

  • 85% of healthcare providers still offer telehealth in 2023
  • 93% of those providers utilize live, interactive, video visits
  • 60% believe telehealth allows them to provide quality care
  • 56% say they plan to increase telehealth services
  • 44% say that telehealth decreases the costs of care
  • 2% say that telehealth has improved their own job satisfaction.

It is clear from the numbers that healthcare providers have no intention in turning the clock back on telehealth. Insurance companies shouldn’t either. Not only do providers want access to the care, but their patients do also as well. According to the same AMA survey:

  • 80% say their patients have better access to care through telehealth
  • 62% of the patients report being highly satisfied with telehealth.

Doctors want to offer telehealth. Their patients want to utilize it. Hospitals, clinics, and even on-demand primary care organizations all want to continue providing telehealth services. It is time for insurance carriers to get with the program. There is no other way to put it.

Ideal for Primary Care

It goes without saying that telehealth isn’t the best solution in every scenario. Someone in need of life saving emergency care isn’t going to get it from a video call with a GP. Likewise, you cannot utilize telehealth to receive your next round of allergy shots. But the vast majority of healthcare services are delivered through primary care office visits. Telehealth is ideal for that sort of thing.

We are all aware of the fact that most primary care visits are little more than conversations. They take 10-15 minutes and that is it. All those conversations can take place just as effectively via video chat. There is absolutely no reason a patient needs to travel to the doctor’s office to talk for a few minutes.

HDHP subscribers now have access to fully covered telehealth. The rest of America’s health plan subscribers need the same access. It is time for carriers to get on board.

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