As COVID Cases Rise, Insurers Reduce Coverage for Virtual Doctors’ Visits

According to this article by The Wall Street Journal, insurers are rolling back the terms of telehealth coverage they launched this spring, with some UnitedHealth Group Inc. and Anthem Inc. customers set to face out-of-pocket charges on certain virtual visits starting October 1. Major insurers are taking different approaches to covering remote care, which is typically done via phone or video. The companies are offering a multitude of deadlines, reimbursement strategies and charges, depending on factors like the type of plan or the purpose of the medical visit.

Doctors and hospital officials say the convoluted rules are leading to confusion—and the cost-sharing charges create concern that patients, faced with an increased financial burden for telehealth, might delay or avoid visits.

“It’s really very complicated,” said Ted Okon, executive director of the Community Oncology Alliance. “It should be simplified and unified so that you don’t have to constantly go back to this grid.”


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