Telehealth is here to stay for Tennessee’s largest health insurer.
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee says in a release today it will continue paying for virtual care at the same rate it would pay for in-person care. The pandemic pushed all health plans to cover doctors visits via video chat, but there were questions about whether the coverage would continue.
BlueCross has managed more than 70,000 telehealth claims, an 18-fold increase over the same period last year.
Telehealth has also been held back by some state laws that were waived in March. This week, Gov. Bill Lee extended those emergency orders until June 30.
Some state legislators are also applauding BlueCross’s decision. They say it’s a free-market response to a longstanding debate in the General Assembly.
“During the legislative debate on telehealth, the Senate maintained that the free market would best determine how telehealth services would play out,” Senate Commerce Committee Chair Paul Bailey, R-Sparta, said in a statement. “I am optimistic that other insurance carriers will follow suit to provide Tennesseans with cost-effective telehealth services that are readily available and safe.”