Telehealth Coverage Guidelines

Telehealth Coverage Guidelines

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Updated December 4, 2020

Due to COVID-19, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama expanded telehealth services effective March 1, 2020. This expansion of services will continue through the end of the federal public health emergency

For complete information, refer to our Telehealth Billing Guide. This guide details the eligible providers and services included in the telehealth coverage expansion for each of these categories:

  • Blue Advantage®
  • Blue Cross
  • Facility/Hospital 
  • Federal Employee Program (FEP)

Only the codes listed in the Telehealth Billing Guide should be submitted for these expanded telehealth services.

Always check eligibility and benefits through ProviderAccess or your practice management system to confirm coverage and cost-sharing details for your patients.

For behavioral health billing and coding guidelines specific to this telehealth expansion, refer to the New Directions Behavioral Health telehealth expansion memo.

Blue Advantage® Telehealth Updates

Expanded telehealth services for Blue Advantage will continue through the public health emergency, which the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has extended for 90 days effective October 23, 2020.

CMS is allowing the expansion of telehealth services to include Annual Wellness Visits for Blue Advantage patients.

Audio and Video Required for Annual Wellness Visits Performed via Telehealth

Effective April 21, 2020, providers are required to use audio AND video capability when performing Blue Advantage annual wellness visits via telehealth. 

We do understand that some patients may not have access to video equipment. In these situations, the patient's medical record encounter documentation should note that services were rendered via audio telecommunications only due to the patient not having video capabilities.

Use Appropriate Codes for Telehealth E/M Services

Providers must use correct codes to indicate whether audio and video equipment or audio only was used when performing evaluation and management (E/M) services via telehealth for Blue Advantage patients.

When performing E/M services with AUDIO AND VIDEO:

Use traditional E/M CPT codes 99201-99205, 99211-99215 and be sure to include a statement in the medical record that audio and video were used.

Documentation Tip:

If you are performing the visit using audio and video technology, documentation best practices for telehealth include noting in the medical record, at minimum:

  • Patient consent
  • Patient’s location
  • The telehealth visit uses audio and visual components

When performing E/M telehealth services with AUDIO ONLY:

Use one of the following codes found on CMS' List of Telehealth Services; a link to this list is also available in our Telehealth Billing Guide:

CPT CodeDescriptionNotes
99441Phone e/m phys/qhp 5-10 minTemporary Addition for the PHE for the COVID-19 Pandemic—Added 4/30/20
99442Phone e/m phys/qhp 11-20 minTemporary Addition for the PHE for the COVID-19 Pandemic—Added 4/30/20
99443Phone e/m phys/qhp 21-30 minTemporary Addition for the PHE for the COVID-19 Pandemic—Added 4/30/20

 

If you have questions about Blue Advantage telehealth coverage, call Provider Networks at 1-866-904-4130.

Helpful Telehealth Resources: