Increasing COVID numbers in March and April left many providers and insurers scrambling to get telehealth underway in their clinic. Telehealth has always been an excellent medium for certain patients, but it has never been the norm, and many therapy clinics did not even offer telehealth before COVID. While specialists were researching the technology and reaching out to patients, insurers were also evaluating their own policies and releasing many, many memos on what they will or will not cover as it relates to telehealth.
EEP Billing Agency, for its clients, maintained a list of telehealth coverage by payer that included whether a payer announced they would be covering it and whether we’d seen payments come through. Keeping up with the different payer telehealth requirements and stipulations was fairly exhaustive and led to a lot of anxiety about whether an insurer would actually pay. Anyone in the industry long enough knows that what the insurers say, even in writing, doesn’t mean much (After all, “Benefits are not a guarantee of payment!”).
So how’s it going? We are pleasantly surprised to report that it went well. Insurers seemed to fall in line and make it a priority to update their systems for payment. Many carriers waived other requirements to make it even easier, like auth requirements or documentation requests. Overall, 90% of the payers began correctly processing claims immediately, and the other 10% fell in line within 30 days. Now, four months later, telehealth is still holding steady as a good option for patients even with many clinics re-opening – and especially given the apparent resurgence of the virus in Florida and other states. Which leads us to our next blog – is telehealth here to stay? Join us next week for that discussion!