publication date: Jul. 31, 2020

Letter to the Editor

AHIP: Health insurance providers are committed to improving access to telehealth

This story is part of The Cancer Letter’s ongoing coverage of COVID-19’s impact on oncology. A full list of our coverage is available here.

In a July 24, 2020 letter to the editor entitled, “Insurers’ moves to limit telehealth amid COVID-19 are inhumane and must be stopped,” the authors use disjointed logic to reach an inaccurate conclusion. [The Cancer Letter, July 24, July 17, 2020]

Health insurance providers have, in fact, been committed to improving access to telehealth for years, and those efforts have been greatly expanded during the COVID-19 crisis.

With the entire world in the grips of a global pandemic, there has been an explosion in the demand for and use of telehealth.  The benefits of telehealth are clear—it can improve access to high quality care and help keep patients and their providers safe.

Health insurance providers have known this for years and have worked hard to improve access to and coverage of telehealth care.  The claim that health insurance providers are looking to eliminate or deny members access to telehealth services is patently false.  Here are just a few examples among many of the actions health insurance providers are taking in support of telehealth:

  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois expanded the types of care that can be delivered via telehealth, adding 18 additional telehealth procedure codes that health care providers may use when billing for care, including codes for behavioral health therapy.

  • Centene has created a Medicaid Telehealth Partnership with the national Association of Community Health Centers and has committed $5 million to the partnership’s efforts to purchase equipment and provide training and technical assistance to federally qualified health centers in order to deliver care to underserved communities.

  • CVS Health has expanded its virtual strategy during COVID-19, offering clinical monitoring, virtual support, and oversight through telehealth to complement existing in-home care.

  • Dozens of health plans, including Piedmont Community Health Plan, Sutter Health Plus, and University Health Alliance, will waive out-of-pocket costs for consumers when they access care via telehealth.

Telehealth is meeting the promise of patient care that is more affordable, accessible, and satisfactory.  America’s health insurance providers will continue to advocate for policies which encourage its growth.

We invite you to visit https://www.ahip.org/search/?q=telehealth to learn more about how America’s health insurance providers support growing and strengthening telehealth. 

 

Christopher Regal
Director, Clinical Innovation
America’s Health Insurance Plans
www.ahip.org

Copyright (c) 2020 The Cancer Letter Inc.