Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota has continued availability of telehealth benefits and COVID-19 treatment waivers till the end of 2021. Virtual care benefits were temporary facilities introduced among members when the pandemic began around this time last year by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota. The aim was to limit in-person care across various specialties. The overwhelming response led Blue Cross to extend eligibility until December 31, 2021, making it the first payers to extend virtual care and COVID-19-related benefits through the end of the year.
- “We’ve heard first-hand from our members and health care provider partners that virtual care is working to help address the needs of our communities at a time when in-person care may not always be available or preferred,” said Craig Samitt, MD, MBA, president and CEO at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota. “We will continue to do right by our members in any way we can to help them through this challenging time,” Samitt continued.
- Coverage for behavioral health services, medication management, as well as physical, speech, and occupational therapy is included in extended virtual care. The payer has at the start of the year announced to extend cost-sharing waivers for out-of-pocket spending on COVID-19 treatment until March 2021. But as the pandemic continues, it also has been extended till June 30, 2021.
- The HHS decision to extend the public health emergency through April 2021 has made payers extend related virtual care benefits. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina have agreed to extend COVID-19 treatment coverage through March 31, 2021. Cigna extended benefits for COVID-19 treatments until February 15, 2021.
- Aetna waived cost-sharing for inpatient COVID-19 treatment and outpatient services for telemental and telebehavioral health through January 31, 2021 for Medicare Advantage and commercial members.