California requires insurers to cover telehealth services

The California Department of Insurance on March 30 issued a notice to all health insurers that they must increase access to services delivered via telehealth during the COVID-19 state of emergency.

The agency said that increasing the availability of telehealth will "lessen the strain on the supply chain, reduce the need to use scarce stocks of provider personal protective equipment and protect the ability of the healthcare workforce to provide care by limiting physical exposure to potential sources of infectious disease," the notice states.

To support expanded telehealth, CDI said insurers should allow all network providers to use all available modes of virtual care delivery, including video and telephone-based communication. Insurers are also required to reimburse telehealth services costs at the same rate as in-person office visits, effective March 30.

On March 18, California's health department mandated that all Medicaid Medi-Cal managed care plans must allow members to use telehealth throughout the pandemic. The state Medicaid plans are also required to reimburse providers for telehealth services at the same rate of in-person visits.


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