Blue Cross of Idaho announced today the company is extending telehealth services for its members throughout the state until December 31, 2020. Members may continue to receive telehealth services via phone or video call from all in-network providers throughout Idaho.
Additionally, Blue Cross of Idaho members can access MDLIVE, the company’s telehealth partner. MDLIVE provides a primary care platform via mobile device or computer for Blue Cross of Idaho members to access convenient, secure and cost-effective options for accessing preventive, chronic and other primary care services.
“Idaho's provider community is passionate about their patients and the communities they serve,” said Drew Hobby, Senior Vice President for Healthcare Economics for Blue Cross of Idaho. “Our innovative relationship with Idaho's family physicians, nurse practitioners, and OBGYNs allows us to work together to create cutting-edge solutions to any healthcare challenge – including a global pandemic. Telehealth was one solution to ensure that patients and providers maintained their strong relationships.”
Blue Cross of Idaho has processed more than 90,500 telehealth claims since expanding telehealth access on March 19, 2020. During the week of January 27-February 2, 2020, Blue Cross of Idaho processed 108 telehealth claims. That number increased to 10,718 telehealth claims between April 6-April 19, 2020 – 118 times more than the weekly average for the first 3 months of the year.
Idahoans used telehealth services to consult with their provider for many health-related issues, including consultations about blood pressure to orthopedic injuries like sprained knees.
Since expanding telehealth access for members, Blue Cross of Idaho has been paying telehealth claims at in-network rates to ensure local providers remain financially solvent during the pandemic. The company will continue to pay member claims for telehealth visits at the same in-network, in-office rate through the end of the year.
“Over the past three months, Idaho’s provider community continued to deliver high-quality care to patients over the phone or a video conference,” said Hobby. “However, we encourage Idahoans to check with their family provider’s office to see if they need to go in for regular check-ups or to follow-up on other health issues they might have put off during the pandemic. While telehealth remains a critical tool to expand access to care, in-person visits may still be needed to ensure overall health and wellness.”
Today’s announcement builds on previous steps the company has taken to protect its members from the impact of the COVID-19 public health crisis, which include:
- In March, Blue Cross of Idaho waived all cost-sharing for COVID-19 testing. Waived cost-share included copayments, deductibles and coinsurance, along with doctor’s office, urgent care and emergency room visits related to the test. New federal law now requires health insurers to cover COVID-19 diagnostic testing with no member cost-sharing.
- On March 19, 2020, Blue Cross of Idaho expanded access to telehealth services by including coverage for any in-network provider able to provide services via telephone or video call. The expansion of access to telehealth services also includes expanding access to MDLIVE, the company’s telehealth partner. MDLIVE provides a primary care platform via mobile device or computer for Blue Cross of Idaho members to access convenient, secure and cost-effective options for accessing preventive, chronic and other primary care services.
- On March 30, 2020, Blue Cross of Idaho announced a new program to support independent healthcare providers across the state. The new program allows independent providers, such as private-practice physician groups, to receive advance payments to cover monetary shortfalls due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Blue Cross of Idaho enhanced prescription drug benefits by offering early refills on maintenance prescriptions, along with a 90-day supply to ensure members had access to needed medications.
- On April 2, 2020, Blue Cross of Idaho announced it waived all member cost-sharing for treatment of COVID-19 through June 30, 2020. Waived treatment cost-sharing impacted the company’s individual, fully insured and Medicare Advantage members.
- The Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health made a $190,000 donation to the COVID-19 Response Fund for Idaho and other charitable organization focused on COVID-19 relief. Funds have been dispersed statewide to those affected by the virus and may need financial support and services.
Blue Cross of Idaho remains in contact with Governor Brad Little, the Idaho Division of Public Health and the Department of Insurance to provide the most up-to-date information on coronavirus.
Members with questions about coverage or telehealth services should visit bcidaho.com or call the customer service number located on the back of their ID card.
About Blue Cross of Idaho
Blue Cross of Idaho Health Service, Inc., a not-for-profit mutual insurance company based in Meridian, Idaho, is a leader in delivering innovative health insurance products, services and information to more than 581,921 members. For 75 years, the company has advocated on behalf of its members to ensure they have access to high-quality healthcare at the lowest possible cost. It also serves the people of Idaho through support of community organizations, programs and events that promote good health. Blue Cross of Idaho Health Service, Inc. is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more information, visit bcidaho.com.