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Telehealth Future State: Post-COVID-19 Accommodations

September 16, 2020

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas expanded access to telehealth services to give our members greater access to care. Moving into 2021 as the COVID-19 accommodations expire, telehealth will continue to be an option for our members. Members will be able to access their medically necessary, covered benefits through providers who deliver services through telehealth.  

The goal: We believe that telehealth can help improve the health of our members when delivered appropriately.

What's new: After COVID-19 accommodations expire, we will cover telehealth codes consistent with the permanent code lists from:

What about the pandemic? We will continue our current offering through the end of 2020, or as long as mandated by federal and state legislation. Updates to our COVID-19 response will be on our website.

Member impact: Members with the following benefit plans will have telehealth coverage:

  • State regulated fully insured HMO and PPO plans
  • Blue Cross Medicare Advantage (excluding Part D) and Medicare Supplement
  • Self-insured employer group plans

We will continue to follow applicable state and federal requirements. 

Medicare and Medicaid: We will follow the Texas Department of State and Health Services and CMS as appropriate for Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement, Medicaid STAR, CHIP and STAR Kids members.

Our recommendations: We’ve recommended the following guidelines for our contracted network providers to follow:

  • Consider telehealth a mode of care delivery when it can provide health outcomes comparable to face-to-face visits.
  • Choose telehealth when you have an established patient-provider relationship and it enhances the continuity of care and care integration for our members.
  • Integrate telehealth records into electronic medical record systems to enhance continuity of care, maintain clinical documentation and help improve patient outcomes.