Capital BlueCross announced it is waiving member cost sharing (copays, deductibles, coinsurance) for telehealth visits with in-network providers through April 15. This latest move is one of a series of steps the insurer has taken to encourage members to use technology to safely access healthcare and to help protect medical staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Capital BlueCross is extending this significant fee waiver to all telehealth visits, not just those on its own Virtual Care app, making all phone and video visits with in-network providers free to its members.
“We are working quickly to find ways to make sure our members have access to the medical care they need during this unprecedented challenge to our health, safety and healthcare system,” said Gary D. St. Hilaire, CEO and president of Capital BlueCross. “Further encouraging telehealth services will help people stay home and reduce exposure at hospitals and doctors’ offices, while continuing to provide access to medical care, including mental health support and other services, so people can maintain as close to normal living situations as possible and get the routine care they need.”
Telehealth is the delivery of medical services through phone or video conference and is not limited to a specific platform, app or provider. Capital BlueCross members may use its Virtual Care app, in-network health system’s or doctor’s telehealth apps, or contact doctors directly to find out how to schedule a phone or video appointment.
This fee waiver expands Capital BlueCross’ initial move in early March to offer free Virtual Care medical visits through its app for its eligible members.
“Many people feel anxious right now, and we want to make sure our members know they can contact and continue to stay in touch with their doctors, psychologists, their children’s behavioral therapists, or their family physicians even for non-COVID-19 related issues,” said Dr. Jennifer Chambers, senior vice president and chief medical officer at Capital BlueCross. “It is important to us to reduce fear and help our members feel confident they have the support they need to get through this time.”
Members of the general public or those otherwise not covered by a Capital BlueCross plan may take advantage of discounted telehealth visits through the Capital BlueCross Virtual Care app. The fee for a non-member is $59 for a medical visit. Virtual Care connects patients with a medical professional by smartphone, tablet or computer in real time 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Wait times vary with volume. Peak hours are 7 a.m. until 10 a.m., with late evening or overnight usually having the shortest wait times.
Capital BlueCross advises members and the general public to protect their health information when using telehealth services, especially audio-only visits, by verifying the identity of their provider at the beginning of the visit.
For more information about what Capital BlueCross is doing to help its members and its communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, visit its website.