COVID-19 is shining a bright light on the benefits of telehealth. Yet, as this happens, some are pushing payment and coverage mandates that will have large, unintended, long-term consequences on affordability for patients. Instead states and the federal government should set robust frameworks for telehealth that allow providers to use telehealth without barriers across state lines, all without the mandates.
A note on terms before moving forward:
Coverage parity often mandates that all services that can be made available over telehealth must be covered. At times, some coverage mandates will include limiting guardrails such that if an insurer had rules around coverage for that service in-person, those rules can still apply for telehealth. For example, requiring prior authorization for services over telehealth that would have required the same if provided in-person.