As part of its ongoing effort to help prevent the spread and impact of COVID-19 and improve the long-term sustainability of health care in Minnesota, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (Blue Cross) announces it is extending eligibility for certain expanded benefits through the end of the year.

As a result of a sustained increase in usage of telehealth by Blue Cross members, all temporary telehealth coverage changes currently in effect will be extended through December 31, 2020. This includes coverage for physical and occupational therapy.

Additionally, Blue Cross is extending its cost-share waiver for COVID-19 testing, related office visits and in-network treatment through the end of the year, ensuring members will not need to pay any out-of-pocket expenses for COVID-19 related care, it notes in a media release.

“Our members and provider partners continue to tell us how these policies are helping to address ongoing health issues in a safe and efficient way. The rapid adoption of virtual care has been highly encouraging. In addition to the health and safety benefits, telehealth has the potential to reduce certain health inequities by eliminating travel time and transportation expenses associated with in-person health care visits.”

— Dr Craig Samitt, president and chief executive officer at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota

In an effort to help bring about more continuity and financial predictability for providers during the COVID-19 pandemic, all telehealth services for Blue Cross members will continue to be covered at the same reimbursement rate as in-person visits through the rest of 2020, per the release.

“We’re continuously monitoring and evaluating the cost and quality of telehealth services with a focus on making this a useful and sustainable transformation for our members, Samitt adds. “For certain services, virtual care isn’t a viable option. But for others, it has the potential to deliver equal or better quality at a lower cost, while improving patient experiences.”

[Source(s): Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, PR Newswire]

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