Major Insurers Tap Breaks on Telehealth Cost-Sharing Waivers

When the coronavirus pandemic bore down on the U.S., health insurers not only moved to waive cost sharing for COVID-19 testing and treatment but also for telehealth visits of all varieties, as shutdowns and fears of contracting the virus kept most Americans out of traditional clinical settings. And there’s clear evidence that consumers embraced virtual care with gusto: a recent analysis from FAIR Health found that telehealth claim lines (an individual service or procedure listed on an insurance claim) in the privately insured population increased 3,806% between July 2019 and July 2020.

However, some major insurers have now ended their across-the-board cost-sharing waivers for non-coronavirus-related telehealth visits, putting certain members on the hook again for copays, coinsurance and/or deductibles if they opt for a virtual appointment.

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Leslie Small

Leslie Small

Leslie has been working in journalism since 2009 and reporting on the health care industry since 2014. She has covered the many ups and downs of the Affordable Care Act exchanges, the failed health insurer mega-mergers, and hundreds of other storylines spanning subjects such as Medicaid managed care, Medicare Advantage, employer-sponsored insurance, and prescription drug coverage. As the managing editor of Health Plan Weekly and Radar on Drug Benefits, she writes and edits for both publications while overseeing a small team of reporters who also focus on the managed care sector. Before joining AIS Health, she was a senior editor for the e-newsletter Fierce Health Payer, and she started her career as a copy editor at multiple local newspapers. She graduated with a dual degree in journalism and political science from Penn State University.

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