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Insurers cut telehealth benefits

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Some insurers are canceling the more generous telehealth benefits they extended to policyholders this spring (see Finding Affordable Health Care Now).

Many insurers have waived user fees or the obligation to respect a deductible for virtual tours. But UnitedHealthGroup and Anthem customers faced reimbursable fees for some telehealth visits starting October 1.

Insurers use a variety of time frames, reimbursement strategies and fees, depending on factors such as the type of plan or the purpose of the medical visit. Doctors and hospitals say complex rules are confusing, and cost-sharing fees raise concerns that patients who have to pay more for telehealth will delay or avoid visits.

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