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Hank Investigates: Not all insurance companies covering telehealth visits

Telehealth is now the gold standard for getting social distance-friendly health care these days. But Investigative reporter Hank Phillippi Ryan found some patients are shocked to find their insurance isn’t covering those remote visits.

People are out of work, stressed, and depressed. And many are desperately seeking professional mental health care.

But therapists say what’s upping the stress, even for their current patients, some insurance coverage will not pay for telehealth sessions.

“I’m concerned, the clinicians I work with are concerned we’re kind of doing our best, and we’re just seeing the start of it this going to get worse,” Lissa Dutra, Ph.D., clinical psychologist, and executive director Clinical Alliance Services said.

Despite Governor Baker ordering insurance companies to pay for telehealth, we found the actual coverage depends on how your insurance plan works.

Since some insurance providers aren’t regulated by state law, Dr. Dutra says the companies don’t have to follow the state’s request.

It would take a federal mandate, or the companies voluntary agreement, to provide that coverage.

I think it doesn’t make any sense at all it doesn’t cost the insurance companies any more or less to cover telehealth services, as opposed to in-office visits the research shows telehealth services are effective I honestly don’t think there’s any basis for it,” Dr. Dutra said.

The situation is so dire, we found some mental health professionals are actually subsidizing some of their patient’s care!

Why is that important, why are you taking that step?” Hank asked.

We need to take care of them that is why therapists do what they do I think its really important and we’re doing our best to fill the gap. I think until hopefully community leaders step in to do so as well,” Dr. Dutra said.

The bottom line, mental health services that were covered pre COVID might NOT be covered now if you use telehealth. So check with your insurance company and your employer to see how you can get coverage.

Clinical Alliance Services created a GoFundMe to assist patients who are having trouble paying for mental health help.


from Boston News, Weather, Sports | WHDH 7News
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