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Telemedicine Future State: Post-COVID-19 Accommodations

September 16, 2020

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana expanded access to telemedicine services to give our members greater access to care. Moving into 2021 as the COVID-19 accommodations expire, telemedicine 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 telemedicine.  

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

What's new: After COVID-19 accommodations expire, we will cover telemedicine 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 telemedicine 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: Our Medicare Advantage plans will reimburse for the CMS codes.

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

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