DURHAM, N.C. – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) announced today its expanded telehealth policy will remain in place through March 31, 2022. The telehealth policy covers doctor visits by video or phone the same as face-to-face visits.In 2020, Blue Cross NC saw members’ telehealth usage increase by more than 7,500%.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the benefits of telehealth,” said Roberta Capp, chief medical officer at Blue Cross NC. “As the public health emergency continues, Blue Cross NC is committed to helping members use these benefits to access the care they need, when they need it.”
The policy applies to all Blue Cross NC commercial plans and Medicare Advantage plans offered and administered by Blue Cross NC, including the State Health Plan. Members of the Federal Employee Program have telehealth covered at parity with in-person visits until further notice. The extended policy does not apply to Blue Cross NC members getting care from out of state providers.
Blue Cross NC has been covering telehealth for more than 20 years and will continue to do so in the future. COVID-19 is driving long-term changes in how doctors and patients use and value telehealth. In 2020, 92% of Blue Cross NC members’ telehealth visits were primary care or behavioral health services, compared to 8% for specialist visits, despite coverage and payment parity.
“If we’ve learned anything during the pandemic, there is a significant patient demand for primary and behavioral health telehealth services, which may be the best areas to drive innovation that will improve outcomes, affordability and access for members and patients,” said Capp.
Blue Cross NC will continue to refine its policy to best serve members with a focus on improving health care outcomes, increasing access to health care, and lowering costs. More information on Blue Cross NC’s COVID-19-related coverage and policies is available at BlueCrossNC.com/Coronavirus.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina:
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) is committed to making health care better, simpler and more affordable. We have been driving better health in North Carolina since 1933, working to tackle our communities’ greatest health challenges. Blue Cross NC serves its customers and communities of more than 3.9 million members, including approximately 1.1 million on behalf of other Blue Plans. Blue Cross NC is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Visit Blue Cross NC online at www.bluecrossnc.com. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.