The volume of telehealth claims lines — which doctors submit to patients’ insurance companies to receive reimbursements — for privately insured US consumers has skyrocketed over the past year: Claims lines submitted for telehealth rose over 4,300% from March 2019, when telehealth visits made up fewer than 0.2% of medical claims lines, to March 2020, when they made up 7.5% of all claims, according to a new analysis by FAIR Health.

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The meteoric growth is thanks largely to the largest private insurers’ moves to make it easier for members to access telehealth and for doctors to get paid for delivering it during the pandemic. And it’s not just privately insured members that are flocking to telehealth in droves: Recent Medicare claims data shows that there’s been a larger than 11,000% boost in telehealth use among Medicare beneficiaries from March to April alone.

But despite the fact that private and government-sponsored payers are knocking down barriers for doctors to get reimbursed for telehealth, many doctors in the US claim that they’re not getting the full payments they’re promised and that reimbursements for telehealth remain far lower than those for in-person visits.

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