US insurers cutting telehealth coverage as COVID-19 cases surge

After changing policies to cover telehealth more broadly during the pandemic, some insurers are scaling it back even as COVID-19 cases surge in some states, according to USA Today.

For example, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, where cases have soared in the past week, said in the last two weeks that its expiration date for expanded telehealth coverage is Aug. 31. Other insurers plan to reduce telehealth coverage for virtual visits in September, according to the report.

Aetna began charging patients co-payments and cost-sharing for telehealth on June 4., and Cigna said it will end expanded telehealth coverage July 31.

Some Arizona insurers had begun to decrease telehealth coverage as hospital ICUs filled with COVID-19 patients, but reversed course with last-minute changes. Physicians are checking insurance company websites daily or weekly to make sure they're current with telehealth coverage policies.

Some employer health plans have not been required to expand telehealth coverage.

More articles on telehealth:
Less than one-third of hospitals are using EHR-embedded telehealth tools
Minnesota health system turns to telemedicine while closing 7 clinics
FCC adds nearly $200M in funding for rural healthcare program

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