NEW YORK, Feb. 2, 2021 /PRNewsCentre/ — Telehealth claim lines1 increased 2,938 percent nationally from November 2019 to November 2020, rising from 0.20 percent of medical claim lines in November 2019 to 6.01 percent in November 2020, according to new data from FAIR Health’s Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker. From month to month, the telehealth share of medical claim lines rose 7.1 percent nationally, from 5.61 percent in October 2020 to 6.01 percent in November 2020. The data represent the privately insured population, excluding Medicare and Medicaid.
Trends in the four US census regions (Midwest, Northeast, South and West) were similar to those in the nation as a whole. In each region, there were large percent increases in volume of claim lines from November 2019 to November 2020; smaller increases occurred from October to November 2020 in every region but the South, where the volume of claim lines dropped 2.5 percent.
Higher telehealth utilization from March to November 2020 in comparison with the same months in 2019 was likely a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, as patients and providers turned to telehealth as a way of reducing the risk of disease transmission associated with in-person visits.
Other notable findings of the November Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker concern the top five telehealth diagnoses by volume. In November 2020, COVID-19 appeared for the first time on one of the regional lists of top five telehealth diagnoses, ranking fourth in the Midwest. Its appearance may reflect the surging number of COVID-19 cases and relatively fewer telehealth visits for other conditions, such as the flu, cases of which have been unusually low this season.
Another rising diagnosis was exposure to communicable diseases, probably also related to COVID-19. From October to November 2020, exposure to communicable diseases jumped from number five to number two on the national list of telehealth diagnoses. Simultaneously, it rose in the rankings in all regions except the Midwest, where it stayed at number three, the same as the previous month.
From October to November 2020, mental health conditions remained the number one telehealth diagnosis nationally and in every region. But the percentage of telehealth claim lines represented by mental health conditions fell nationally and in every region, perhaps as a result of an increase in COVID-19-related visits. Nationally, mental health conditions decreased from 51.81 percent of telehealth claim lines in October to 48.17 percent in November.
About the Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker
Launched in May as a free service, the Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker uses FAIR Health data to track how telehealth is evolving from month to month. An interactive map of the four US census regions allows the user to view an infographic on telehealth in a specific month in the nation as a whole or in individual regions. In addition to data on the volume of claim lines, diagnoses and procedure codes, each infographic includes findings on urban versus rural usage.
FAIR Health President Robin Gelburd stated: "As the COVID-19 pandemic persists, FAIR Health’s Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker is able to provide continuing insights into how it affects telehealth. We will continue to monitor the evolution of this venue of care."
For the Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker, click here.
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1 A claim line is an individual service or procedure listed on an insurance claim.
About FAIR Health
FAIR Health is a national, independent nonprofit organization that qualifies as a public charity under section 501(c)(3) of the tax code. It is dedicated to bringing transparency to healthcare costs and health insurance information through data products, consumer resources and health systems research support. FAIR Health possesses the nation’s largest collection of private healthcare claims data, which includes over 32 billion claim records and is growing at a rate of over 2 billion claim records a year. FAIR Health licenses its privately billed data and data products—including benchmark modules, data visualizations, custom analytics and market indices—to commercial insurers and self-insurers, employers, providers, hospitals and healthcare systems, government agencies, researchers and others. Certified by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) as a national Qualified Entity, FAIR Health also receives data representing the experience of all individuals enrolled in traditional Medicare Parts A, B and D; FAIR Health includes among the private claims data in its database, data on Medicare Advantage enrollees. FAIR Health can produce insightful analytic reports and data products based on combined Medicare and commercial claims data for government, providers, payors and other authorized users. FAIR Health’s systems for processing and storing protected health information have earned HITRUST CSF certification and achieved AICPA SOC 2 compliance by meeting the rigorous data security requirements of these standards. As a testament to the reliability and objectivity of FAIR Health data, the data have been incorporated in statutes and regulations around the country and designated as the official, neutral data source for a variety of state health programs, including workers’ compensation and personal injury protection (PIP) programs. FAIR Health data serve as an official reference point in support of certain state balance billing laws that protect consumers against bills for surprise out-of-network and emergency services. FAIR Health also uses its database to power a free consumer website available in English and Spanish and an English/Spanish mobile app, which enable consumers to estimate and plan for their healthcare expenditures and offer a rich educational platform on health insurance. The website has been honored by the White House Summit on Smart Disclosure, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), URAC, the eHealthcare Leadership Awards, appPicker, Employee Benefit News and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. FAIR Health also is named a top resource for patients in Dr. Marty Makary’s book The Price We Pay: What Broke American Health Care—and How to Fix It and Elisabeth Rosenthal’s book An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back. For more information on FAIR Health, visit fairhealth.org.
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SOURCE: FAIR Health