The WGA’s Health Plan says it will now reimburse online visits to doctors and therapists as the industry comes to grips with the coronavirus pandemic.
“Due to the fear of transmitting COVID-19, many therapists and doctors are insisting that they meet with their patients via Skype or other electronic means,” the Plan told participants today. “Doing so may reduce the risk of transmitting the virus, both to patient and doctor, but until today, the Health Plan did not reimburse online visits unless the visit was in-network and conducted through LiveHealth Online.
“This morning, the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to temporarily allow for reimbursement of doctor, therapist, and other licensed provider visits (both in-network and out-of-network) when the visit occurs electronically via Skype or other similar method, and at the same rate as an in-person visit, subject to normal Plan rules.”
A summary of the change notes that “the Plan normally offers telemedicine visits exclusively through LiveHealth Online. However, in light of the extraordinary circumstances, the Trustees have acted to temporarily expand the telemedicine program so that, effective March 16, 2020, any office visit (in-network or out-of-network) that is otherwise covered under the Plan and that can be conducted online will not be excluded solely because it is held online. These office visits will be covered, subject to normal Plan rules.”