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COVID-19: How to Avoid Unexpected Telemedicine Bills

This post has been shared by the AdvoConnection Blog. It was written with a patient-client audience in mind, but might be useful to you, too.

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COVID-19: How to Avoid Unexpected Telemedicine Bills

With thanks to advocate and guest blogger, Rob Berman.  Find Rob’s advocacy profile here: Systemedic, Inc Medical Bill Advocate  As COVID-19 (coronavirus) alarmingly spreads throughout the nation, telemedicine is becoming an increasingly common way for doctors to communicate with patients. While the last thing you should be worrying about during this crisis is paying medical bills, high medical expenses may be a real concern if you need to see a medical professional. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, it’s important to speak with a doctor to determine whether you should get tested. The rules regarding telehealth and coronavirus-related medical treatment are continuing to evolve: although it may appear that coronavirus-related healthcare is fully covered by insurance, there are a few assumptions you should avoid making.  1. Don’t Assume Your COVID-19 Related Telemedicine Visit is Covered by Insurance Due to COVID-19, telemedicine is used more than ever. Although Medicare used to allow coverage of telemedicine visits only if the recipient lived in a remote area, these requirements have been relaxed. If you are a Medicare patient being evaluated, tested, or treated for Covid-19, you shouldn’t have to pay for a telemedicine visit. If you have a commercial (private) policy, you can’t assume that your telemedicine visit will be covered. Most insurance companies are waiving cost-sharing and paying the full cost of the visit. In cases where medical insurance does not cover telemedicine, the doctor determines his/her own rates for these non-covered services. 2. Don’t Assume a Telemedicine Visit NOT Related to COVID-19 is Covered Since COVID-19 is highly contagious, many doctors are also urging patients to utilize telemedicine for any and all health issues whether or not they are related to COVID-19. Telemedicine visits reduce the risk of being exposed to the virus or exposing others during an office visit. If you are on Medicare, the costs of a telemedicine visit not related to COVID-19 are covered. However, each commercial insurance company considers telemedicine differently for these types of visits – some companies may apply the cost to your deductible if it hasn’t been met yet. Others are waiving cost-sharing for the duration of the pandemic. 3. Don’t Assume Your Bill is Incorrect If You are Charged a Co-Pay If you’ve been charged a co-pay for a COVID-19 related telemedicine visit, your bill may or may not be correct, depending on your plan. First, contact the insurance company to find out what your…


 

 

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