Making Telehealth Coverage a Permanent Benefit for U.S. Consumers

  • Product Marketing Manager, XIFIN

One of the most significant legislative changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic was the temporary measure taken by legislators to cover telehealth visits. It was an overwhelming success in the eyes of patients and providers. Telehealth services rapidly expanded to cover primary care, behavioral health, mental health care, and remote patient monitoring. Now that those rule changes, initiated by the public health emergency (PHE), are coming to an end patients and providers have real concerns about losing coverage on this important benefit.

Many states have stopped emergency regulations instituted at the beginning of the PHE, including those that allowed physicians to provide virtual care within and across state lines. For example, this summer Virginia emergency orders expired or were rolled back, and Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore scrambled to notify more than 1,000 Virginia patients that their telehealth appointments were “no longer feasible."1

In addition, federal agencies that relaxed coverage rules may rein in how telemedicine is delivered and covered by insurance payors. On January 19, UnitedHealthcare announced it would continue to reimburse “appropriate” claims for COVID-19 telehealth services according to the member’s benefit plan.Yet, the benefits of telehealth services and remote patient care are clear. Advances in technology combined with patients’ demands for improved access to care led millions of Americans to use telehealth services to see their providers and manage their health during the pandemic.

Quick Facts

On average, patients using telehealth services experience a 61% decrease in health care expenses.4

An analysis found that telehealth tools support a 30% reduction in emergency department costs.4

Access to telehealth services provides a wide array of benefits from improved clinical outcomes to greater health equality, and lower costs. Telehealth Access for America (TAFA) is a “public education campaign supported by leaders in health care committed to better care, expanded patient choice, and protecting access to critical telehealth services.”3 The organization is promoting permanent legislative action by Congress to protect access and coverage by federal and commercial payors for telehealth services across the country.

This initiative is supported by eighteen influential healthcare organizations including commercial payors, healthcare technology companies, and prominent healthcare associations. While patient benefits are clear, including more preventative care and monitoring of chronic conditions, TAFA also highlights the cost benefits of permanent telehealth coverage. One analysis found that average patients using telehealth experience a 61% decrease in health care expenses. Another found that telehealth tools support a 30% reduction in emergency department costs.4

XIFIN supports this and other educational and legislative efforts to make permanent access to telehealth available to patients for remote patient services. Better healthcare outcomes and cost reduction is in the best interest of all Americans.

Learn about how XIFIN’s patient and provider access tools have helped our clients improve reimbursement and patient engagement in this complimentary on-demand webinar.

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1 Modern Healthcare, “Telehealth’s limits: Battle over state lines and licensing threatens patients’ options,” August 31, 2021; accessed 24 Jan. 2022
2 UnitedHealthcare website, “COVID-19 Telehealth,” January 19, 2022; accessed 24 Jan. 2022
3 Telehealth Access for America website,; accessed 24 Jan. 2022
4 Telehealth Access for America website,; accessed 24 Jan. 2022

Published by XIFIN
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