The current pandemic’s role in promoting telemedicine remains evident, as millions of US citizens utilized telehealth services. At its best, virtual care has proved its importance in treating uncomplicated respiratory infections. However, the hurdle remains as to how it can enhance primary care for chronic diseases.
The future of telemedicine hangs on the balance as the debate on whether insurers will continue covering telehealth into the post-pandemic period permeates different platforms. Despite broad bipartisan backing, without proper legislation, the pilot insurance program is as good as over. Now that lawmakers remain reluctant about telemedicine’s potential cost, even private insurers may not balance between virtual and in-person reimbursements.
Renowned insurers such as UnitedHealthcare are still hesitant on whether they will continue covering telemedicine services beyond September. While others like Cigna plan to continue with the insurance plan but on a pandemic level only. The federal government that sets the pace for telemedicine is likely on the verge of reverting the decision to reimburse virtual care providers once the pandemic’s effects on emergency care end unless legislators extend reimbursement policies into the post-pandemic period.
The number of face-to-face medical examinations has started rising as the pandemic recedes in some of the states. While many patients confirm that they opted for telemedicine to avoid infections in crowded doctor facilities and emergency rooms, many say they prefer traditional visits.
Some insurers such as BlueCross BlueShield have confirmed their commitment to supporting telemedicine into the future, although the cost remains unsettled. High-risk patients and accessible legislators such as Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee want the Medicare program to continue. They cite that virtual consultations remain essential in enhancing the quality of medical care.
The bottom line
The current pandemic is a revelation to the importance of telehealth services in the USA medical sector. However, telemedicine will not stay any longer without proper mechanisms such as adequate doctor training and reimbursement regulations.