UnitedHealthcare (UHC) announced last week it is extending through Sept. 30, 2020, its temporary telehealth expansion spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic. The extension applies to UHC’s plans in Medicare Advantage, as well as in the individual and fully insured group markets. UHC will continue to waive the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) originating site requirement, and will continue to pay physicians and other qualified health providers for telehealth visits at parity with the rate they would receive for an in-person visit. More details are available on UHC’s COVID-19 website.
Like Medicare, many private payers have expanded their telehealth policies during the pandemic — which has been declared a national health emergency — by waiving restrictions and out-of-pocket costs and allowing physicians to bill and be paid for telephone-only services/codes.
UHC, the nation's largest private health insurer, also announced last week it’s continuing its temporary waiver of member cost sharing for telehealth visits for medical, outpatient behavioral, physical, occupational and speech therapy, chiropractic therapy, home health, hospice and remote patient monitoring services, with opt-in available for self-funded employers.
*Per UHC, this date is subject to change based on direction from CMS.
Telehealth billing and coding guidance for the largest national payers is available here. This guidance is ever evolving, so stay tuned for future announcements and developments.
— Kent Moore, Senior Strategist for Physician Payment at the American Academy of Family Physicians
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