10 health insurers, state make deal to extend telehealth


Agreement allows insurance companies to continue providing expanded options

(Photo by ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP via Getty Images)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The State of Oregon has reached an agreement with ten different health insurance companies to continue providing expanded telehealth options through at least the end of the calendar year.

In late March, Oregon’s Department of Consumer and Business Services and the Oregon Health Authority announced guidelines requiring health insurance plans to provide coverage for multiple telehealth platforms at the same rate as an in-person visit. The move was aimed to limit in-person health care services in accordance with social distancing guidelines.

“Throughout this pandemic, telehealth has provided Oregonians with essential access to health care services that otherwise might have been unavailable or required the risk of an in-person appointment,” said Governor Kate Brown in a release Tuesday. “It has transformed how many people have accessed behavioral health services. I’d like to thank Oregon’s insurers for partnering with us in this agreement, which gives us the opportunity and the time to develop more permanent telehealth policies with appropriate flexibilities during the 2021 session.”

Bridgespan, Cigna, Health Net, Kaiser Permanente, Moda, PacificSource, Providence, Regence, Samaritan and United Healthcare were the ten insurance companies to agree to provide expanded telehealth services through December 31, 2020.

Oregon Health Plan will also continue to offer pay parity and other allowances for many telehealth services, offering the same rate as an in-person visit for physical health services, behavioral health services, and some dental and long-term care services, according to state officials.

The Department of Consumer and Business Services noted that the agreement announced Tuesday does not apply to self-insured plans.

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