New Data: Telehealth Parity Mandates Reduce Patient Uptake

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The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about an explosive increase in the use of telehealth. In recent policy debates, controversy has emerged over telehealth mandates: Should states mandate that the payment rate for telehealth visits and in-person appointments have to be the same? Should they also mandate that insurers have to cover all forms of telehealth? In examining utilization data, we found that a region with several parity mandates had utilization increases far less than in a region that does not have widespread parity. In other words, parity mandates appear to harm patient access and depress utilization.