The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports on changes insurance companies are making to promote in-office visits for patients. I just thought it was interesting given the increased attention and praise for telehealth options during the COVID-19 epidemic…
Minnetonka-based Medica is waiving cost-sharing for in-office, in-network appointments from June to September. Savings are available to about 28,000 people in Minnesota enrolled in the insurer’s Medicare Advantage health plans.
“Our goal is to ensure members get the care they need by seeing their primary care and specialist providers as the first level of care,” Greg Bury, a Medica spokesman, said via e-mail to the Star Tribune. He added that “telehealth at home” will continue “as a secondary option.”
The article goes on…
When COVID-19 emerged, many clinics moved to “virtual visits” where doctors and patients communicate through secure digital channels.
The moves reduced exposure risks and also helped conserve scarce supplies of protective equipment. Some clinics have dabbled with drive-through care to reduce exposure risks.
The volume of in-person visits to primary care clinics is starting to recover, said Courneya of HealthPartners.
“By waiving the copays for primary care, we have eliminated that barrier to [patients] coming in,” he said. “And by doing the same thing for mental health, we recognize how stressful this has been.”
At Medica, telehealth visits will continue to be available under the federal emergency declaration, but they will have copays, said Bury, the company spokesman.