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CEO Matt Eyles Talks Telehealth At Reuters Digital Health

posted by AHIP

on June 16, 2021

“Times of great need and great crisis also bring about innovation,” AHIP CEO and President Matt Eyles said recently at the Reuters Digital Health event.

He discussed the evolution to telehealth, and how health insurance providers are developing new ways to connect with their members and deliver health care services remotely. Below is a brief excerpt:

Will health insurance providers continue to reimburse for virtual care?

Matt Eyles: Telehealth is here to stay and will be reimbursed, the question is what is the equilibrium between telehealth and in person care. Health insurance providers want flexibility for benefit design, and don’t want mandates for state or federal requirements. We also need to figure out how these encounters count for multiple purposes—for quality and for risk adjustment, for example. Things that count toward how the system functions.

Virtual care can help alleviate health disparities, but can it actually exacerbate disparities?

Eyles: Yes, it is possible given the digital divide in this country—whether in low-income urban areas or rural areas, or with people not comfortable with using various technologies. In the Medicare population we saw use of audio only ramped up dramatically. So we need to consider how we bridge these gaps, and what can insurance providers or other companies do to help?

What is the role of state government in enabling digital health?

Eyles: There is a huge role for government policy regulators to play—we know the flexibilities that were granted as a result of the public health emergency and they were sorely needed. As we look ahead to when the PHE might end, there will be significant implications for Medicare and Medicaid. States play an essential role, but what we don’t want to see is an entirely new patchwork across 50 different states.