Answering Telehealth and COVID-19 Health Insurance Questions
The number of COVID-19 cases in the United States has rapidly increased in the last few weeks. As the government urges people to stay home, patients with or without pre-existing conditions like autoimmune disease, arthritis, heart disease and diabetes are encouraged to use telehealth and speak with healthcare providers online for specialty consultations and routine care. Most health insurance providers have also expanded their virtual care networks to meet the demands of COVID-19.
What is telehealth?Telehealth allows you to see a provider using a phone, tablet, laptop or desktop anytime, anywhere. It includes conducting patient consultations via call, text message or an app as well as providing prescriptions and/or diagnosis via video calls and online chat. Virtual home healthcare support to chronically ill patients is also included.
Can I use my health insurance for telehealth during this time?Most health insurance programs include benefits for telehealth. A number of telehealth services have recently been added the list of services that now qualify for reimbursement. In fact, to ease the financial burden and lessen administrative requirements in the midst of this pandemic, some health insurance providers have waived cost-sharing for telehealth services.
Can I use my health insurance for COVID-19 tests?Most health insurance providers have also covered COVID-19 tests and diagnosis, whether done virtually or in a traditional healthcare facility.
Which health insurance providers waived cost-sharing for telehealth visits?As the coverage of these health insurances vary, please reach out to your health insurance provider or visit their website for specific date ranges, terms and conditions, including authorization requirements for COVID-19 related consultations and/or tests.
Final ThoughtsPeople with pre-existing conditions are more susceptible to COVID-19. As much as possible, please do not go to hospitals, clinics and urgent care centers unless you have an emergency condition. Avoid exposure to COVID-19 patients by using telehealth instead if you need to speak with a provider.
Again, if you have questions about your health insurance coverage, please reach out to your health insurance provider. Stay safe and healthy!
World Health Organization