Aetna is modifying its commercial policy to no longer cover certain telemedicine services starting on December 1, the company said via statement. This is for audio-only and asynchronous text-based visits that were expanded under the public health emergency, the CVS subsidiary said.
"The modifications are in line with the industry as a result of the expected PHE ending in May 2023," Aetna said. "Telemedicine services that remain covered for Aetna Commercial plan sponsors are actually more extensive than what was provided pre-pandemic because of the access and value these services clearly bring to our members and providers."
Payers, providers, and the federal government are figuring out the telehealth landscape after the end of the public health emergency on May 11. Payment parity for virtual services remains an issue, with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services saying Congress needs to act on telehealth decision-making and LACMA will continue to track and impact this issue on behalf of members.
2024 is shaping up to be the Super Bowl for telehealth, with many of the telehealth flexibilities enacted during the public health emergency set to expire at the end of 2024, and this includes geographic and originating site flexibilities, Medicare's telemental health in-person requirements, Medicare face-to-face telehealth requirements for hospice care and the Acute Hospital Care at Home Program.