During the early stages of the pandemic, there was a dramatic shift to utilization of telehealth for services that would traditionally have been office visits. Use of technology, including by smart phone, tablet, computer or telephone-only, was strongly encouraged to increase health system capacity and to limit office visits which could increase the spread of Covid-19.
To incentivize use of telehealth, the Trust waived cost shares for these visits. While visits to primary care physicians have been returning to more normal utilization patterns in the office, utilization of telehealth for mental health and substance abuse services continues to increase. It is well documented that the impacts of the pandemic have created an increased need for mental health care.
In order to facilitate continued utilization of these services, the Board of Trustees has extended the cost share (copay) waiver through the end of 2022 for members who receive mental health or substance abuse services via telehealth. The cost share waiver for other telehealth services, including for Primary Care and Specialty Care visits, expired December 31, 2021.