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Telehealth Coverage During the COVID-19 Pandemic


New Study: Consumer-Directed Health Plans Broke Down Barriers to Physical and Mental Health Care During COVID-19 Pandemic

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Published on Mar 17, 2022

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Nearly 180 million Americans have employer-provided health insurance coverage, and 40% of them are covered by a Consumer-Directed Health Plan (CDHP), which combine a high-deductible plan with a tax-advantaged health savings account (HSA). As the COVID-19 pandemic impacted every family and community, health insurance providers called for new flexibilities that would permit these plans to cover more telehealth services – without a patient having to touch their deductible. This new study from AHIP demonstrates that the vast majority of CDHPs took advantage of the flexibilities that Congress permitted in 2020 and 2021, covering many physical and mental health care services on a pre-deductible basis.

Key Takeaways

  • The COVID-19 pandemic called for innovative approaches to break down barriers to care to help Americans achieve their best possible physical and mental health.
  • Nearly every CDHP1 leveraged new flexibilities provided in the CARES Act to cover more mental and physical health care services through telehealth, without a patient having to touch their deductible.
  • The most common types of services delivered via telehealth that were covered pre-deductible included claims for routine care – regular evaluation and management visits, psychotherapy, speech, and language therapy, and medical nutrition therapy.
  • Behavioral health care was the most frequent category of care provided via telehealth in 2020.


Coverage@Work (C@W) is a campaign to educate policymakers and the public about the value employer-provided coverage delivers to over 180 million Americans. C@W supports and advocates for market-based solutions that advance health, choice, affordability, and value for every American.