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BCBSIL Responds to COVID-19: Further Expanding Telehealth to All In-Network Providers

Mar. 30, 2020

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) launched an expanded telehealth program on March 11, 2020, in quick response to the COVID-19 crisis in order to provide greater access and to help remove potential barriers to medical services for our members.

On March 19, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker issued an Executive Order (PDF) Learn more about third-party links  expanding telehealth services across the state. In collaboration with state efforts, BCBSIL has expanded in-network telehealth benefits for all state-regulated, fully-insured members. This expansion will remain in effect until the Governor lifts his proclamation of Illinois as a disaster area (PDF). Learn more about third-party links  It is important to note that employer group telehealth benefits may differ by plan.

Effective March 19, 2020, BCBSIL began providing benefits to fully-insured members for health care services provided by in-network and out-of-network providers for all medically necessary covered services and treatments (consistent with the terms of the member’s benefit plan). Providers of telehealth may include, but are not necessarily limited to, physicians, physician assistants, APRNs, licensed behavioral health, applied behavioral analysis, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy service providers, as well as nutritionists and dieticians.

Any telehealth visit, whether in-network or out-of-network, for services related to COVID-19 will not be subject to benefit preauthorization requirements.

This telehealth delivery method for health care services is available to eligible fully-insured and employee plan participants in BCBSIL’s PPO and Blue Choice PPOSM plans. Telehealth benefits for medically necessary services are also available to eligible HMO members from providers in their medical group who offer telehealth (benefit plan requirements, such as referral requirements from a primary care physician, or PCP, still apply).

BCBSIL will continue to follow the applicable guidelines of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services as appropriate for Blue Cross Community Health PlansSM (BCCHPSM) (Medicaid Plans), Blue Cross Community MMAI Plans (Medicare-Medicaid Plan)SM and Blue Cross Medicare Advantage (PPO)SM Plans.

BCBSIL will also continue to evaluate the current telehealth program and make adjustments to best serve our members as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves.

Additional information for providers can be found in the News and Updates section of the BCBSIL Provider website.