Insurers Begin to Roll Back Telehealth Fee Waivers
As Frier Levitt has mentioned in previous articles, insurers have nearly unanimously waived cost-sharing requirements for virtual telehealth visits since the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic. Recently, however, certain payors have begun to roll back telehealth fee waivers for visits not specifically related to COVID-19 care. Two of the nation’s largest health insurers, Anthem and UnitedHealthcare, are no longer waiving co-payments and deductibles for telehealth visits effective as of October 1, 2020. This reversal will apply to certain customers who seek telehealth treatment for medical issues unrelated to COVID-19.
While other health plans generally continue to waive cost-sharing requirements for certain virtual visits, this may change in the near future. For example, as a result of the declaration of a public health emergency by the Department of Health and Human Services, in-person COVID-19 testing-related visits will continue to be covered through at least January 2021, but the cost-sharing waivers related to treatment of COVID-19 are set to expire this fall and winter unless renewed by insurance carriers. This move toward resuming cost sharing in an in-person capacity, particularly as it relates to the treatment for COVID-19, is likely instructive for how health insurance carriers will begin to revise their current virtual waivers.
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