Employers, Insurers Unnerved by Rising Virtual Doctor Visit Rates

August 21, 2020

Employers fear higher rates for telehealth will eliminate savings. However, a shift in provider reimbursement may ultimately help lower costs for patients, employers, and insurers. As the Covid-19 pandemic prompted the DHHS to relax restrictions on use of telehealth, the agency raised reimbursement rates for many telehealth services covered by Medicare to match higher in-person rates. Commercial rates have also followed suit sparking concerns that higher rates could wipe out any potential cost-savings typically associated with telehealth. To address these issues, a taskforce was formed by a group of private and public health-care organizations to develop long-term recommendations on getting the most benefit from telehealth. It plans to issue those recommendations in early September.

“If you want to get to the promise of cost savings, it has to be a little more nuanced than ‘pay the same for a telehealth visit,’” O’Kane said. Virtual medical homes, in which primary care practices deliver care by telehealth, could allow for the kind of quality care that is needed,” said Peggy O’Kane, president of the National Committee for Quality Assurance. Read more here.

(Source: Sara Hansard, Bloomberg News, August 21, 2020)

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