Use of virtual visits in response
to COVID-19

How health plans are limiting the rapid
outbreak of COVID-19

By: Jasmine DeSilva and Tabiya Ahmed

Health plans are at the epicenter for responding to the COVID-19 outbreak. The novel coronavirus significantly challenges the way members can access care for both emergency reasons and ongoing chronic condition support. One of the most prominent challenges plans are facing is how to encourage members to get the care they need without compromising the risk of exposure for themselves and others.

Most health plans are pushing members to seek out telehealth options before going to an in-person health care facility. To relieve the burden on members, most plans have eliminated cost-sharing for virtual visits and expanded their telehealth service capacity. Use of virtual visits not only limits the spread of the virus but allows providers to triage limited tests and treatments to those who need it the most.

The cheat sheet outlines the major changes in telehealth policies enacted by CMS and highlights what commercial health plans are piloting to boost member uptake for virtual visits—beyond just waiving out-of-pocket costs.

Download the cheat sheet