Texas-regulated insurers must continue to pay for telemedicine services, including mental health visits, at the same rate as in-person visits through Sept. 12, the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) said today.
TDI announced it is extending the requirement that was part of an emergency rule that has been in place since March. It was set to expire July 14.
Under the emergency rule, state-regulated health insurers and health maintenance organizations (HMOs) also must:
Cover telemedicine services using any platform permitted by state law; and
Not require more documentation for telemedicine services than they require for in-person services.
To make telemedicine available to more patients and their physicians during the emergency declaration period, many state and federal rules and regulations regarding telehealth, including a waiver for audio-only visits, have been relaxed temporarily.
The following deadlines and extensions are in effect during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Aetna is moving its provider portal to Availity (from NaviNet) effective May 31. After that date, you’ll lose access to Aetna on NaviNet, including electronic transactions. Aetna also:
Has extended coverage for commercial telemedicine service, including audio-only visits, through Aug. 4; and
Will no longer waive cost sharing for any in-network telemedicine visits for commercial plans starting June 4.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas has extended access to telemedicine/telehealth services with no cost sharing for all medically necessary, covered services and treatments through June 30. That access was set to expire May 31.
Cigna will extend certain cost-share waivers, including customer cost-sharing for telemedicine screenings for COVID-19, and other benefits through at least July 31.
Several Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program(CHIP) flexibilities, including paying for Texas Health Steps (THSteps) medical checkups via telemedicine and CHIP copay waivers, will be extended through June 30. Payments had been set to expire May 31.
Medicare’s 2020 Quality Payment Program (QPP) registration window is open for the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) web interface reporting method and Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems survey through June 30.
Medicare’s 2019 QPP final performance feedback, which includes your overall MIPS score (0-100 point scale) and 2021 Medicare payment adjustment (bonus or cut) worth up to 7%, is expected July 1 via the QPP portal. Physicians who did not submit any 2019 MIPS data or who filed an application for an exception due to COVID-19 should not receive a 2021 payment cut.