Premera Blue Cross expands telehealth offerings, waives costs for COVID-19 virtual visits

Premera Blue Cross will waive cost shares for all telehealth services deemed medically necessary for COVID-19 treatment, effective March 24, the health insurer announced.

The payer also signed agreements with telehealth providers 98point6 and Doctor on Demand. The companies' text and video visits will be available for at least 90 days to almost all of Premera Blue Cross' more than 2 million members in the Pacific Northwest, a region that has been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

Not only will all COVID-19-related telehealth visits be free for members, but costs will also be waived for PPO plan members' telehealth appointments. Other costs may be waived "where appropriate," according to the announcement.

"Demand for virtual healthcare services has skyrocketed and will only continue to increase as the pandemic continues. Our goal is to relieve some of the anxiety our members may face by giving them access to care at little or no cost from the safety and comfort of their homes," Rick Abbott, Premera's vice president of product and market solutions, said in a statement.

More articles on telehealth:
New Jersey hospital uses 'video robot' in pop-up tents outside ER
200 Hospital for Special Surgery physicians adopt telehealth
Telehealth visits at Mass General, Boston Medical Center skyrocket

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