Texas Telemedicine services extended through September because of COVID-19

COVID-19 extends Texas Telemedicine services through September

TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Texas Department of Insurance announced an extension that requires insurance companies to cover telemedicine services, including mental health visits, at the same rate as in-person visits.

As positive COVID-19 cases spike across the state, a new extension will allow Texans more accessibility to healthcare. Ben Gonzalez with the Texas Department of Insurance explained how the decision can affect some Texans.

“Our emergency rule says for state-regulated insurance plans, insurers have to pay the doctors the same amount that they would pay for an in-office visit,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez said the ruling also allows users to go virtual.

“They also have to cover telemedicine through any kind of platform,” Gonzales said. “Like, we’re talking on Zoom, Teams is out there, face-to-face on Facetime ... but now, we all have iPad’s, we all have computers with cameras built in, so yeah there’s been an explosion of people using it because of trying to stay indoors as much as possible.”

The rule does not apply for federally funded programs

“The Texas Department of Insurance only regulates state-regulated health plans; those are about 15 percent of the Texas marketplace,” Gonzalez said. “The rule doesn’t apply to is some government-funded plans like Medicare and Medicaid.”

Gonzalez says you can find out if you have a state-regulated plan if you have the letters TDI on your health ID card.

“We can only control the plans that we regulate, and we want to give people as much flexibility as possible to get the care that they need,” Gonzalez said.

The rule will remain in effect through September 12.

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