The World Has Recognized That Telehealth Is the Future of Healthcare: The Big, Unanswered Question Is How We Pay For It
By Tom Conroy, CEO and co-founder, MedSign.
The telehealth market is expected to reach $10 billion this year, which represents a 80% jump in growth. Much of this has been driven by the coronavirus and, prior to the pandemic, as a response to skyrocketing healthcare costs.
Current safety concerns surrounding at-risk patients visiting hospitals and other healthcare facilities have increased the urgency for solutions that provide critical medical support while mitigating risk.
Lawmakers have responded by relaxing antiquated rules and policies limiting telemedicine access that would otherwise have required decades of debate and lobbying efforts to change. This conversation has also created renewed interest in Telehealth as one answer to the growing healthcare crisis in this country.
That all represents significant progress, however there is still one big, unanswered question: How to address billing and insurance coverage issues.
Back in April, politicians, media and influencers were widely cited as saying patients were covered for Telehealth services. However, many telehealth patients were still getting billed. This was largely because of the fact that payer groups including the government, insurance companies and private enterprise “didn’t get the memo” or were slow to change their policies. In essence, without the participation of these payer groups, the promise of Telehealth was empty.
As a result, millions have been denied access to cost-effective solutions that also ensure patients are safe and secure from Coronavirus and other issues. This is unacceptable. If we are truly committed to delivering quality medical care online, then the healthcare community, our legislators and patients must demand a standard telehealth reimbursement and billing system for all — no matter who you are or what insurance you have.