Healthy Living on a Budget

Insurers Cut Telehealth Benefits

UnitedHealthGroup and Anthem customers were set to face out-of-pocket charges on certain telehealth visits starting October 1.

Some insurers are rolling back the more-generous telehealth benefits they extended to policyholders this spring (see Finding Affordable Health Care Now).

Many insurers have been waiving co-payments or requirements to meet a deductible for virtual visits. But UnitedHealthGroup and Anthem customers were set to face out-of-pocket charges on certain telehealth visits starting October 1.

Insurers are using an array of deadlines, reimbursement strategies and charges, depending on factors such as the type of plan or the purpose of the medical visit. Doctors and hospitals say the complex rules are leading to confusion, and the cost-sharing charges are creating concern that patients who must pay more for telehealth might delay or avoid visits.

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