Will insurance cover telehealth?
- Developments are changing daily in the state of Illinois regarding insurance coverage of telehealth and will vary among different insurance carriers. We will check benefits if clients choose to use this way of meeting. As always, please feel free to call your insurance to check and ask me if you have any questions, especially related to OON coverage. If you happen to have an out-of-state plan, please know that more states are enacting similar orders, or already have, but you may want to call your plan to verify coverage.
*IN RESPONSE TO THE CORONAVIRUS HEALTH PANDEMIC, GOVERNOR PRITZKER ISSUED AN EXECUTIVE ORDER THAT REQUIRES EVERY HEALTH INSURANCE PROVIDER COVER ALL FORMS OF TELEHEALTH FOR MENTAL/BEHAVIORAL HEALTH TREATMENT. SERVICES MAY BE PROVIDED BY ANY PSYCHOLOGIST, SOCIAL WORKER, OR MENTAL HEALTH PROVIDER. DUE TO A WAIVER ISSUED BY THE FEDERAL OFFICE OF CIVIL RIGHTS, ACCEPTABLE TECHNOLOGY FORMATS NOW EXTEND BEYOND THOSE THAT ARE HIPAA-COMPLIANT (I.E. CELL PHONES, FACETIME, SKYPE, ETC). FURTHERMORE, INSURANCE COMPANIES MAY NOT REQUIRE PRIOR AUTHORIZATION THAT IS DEEMED UNNECESSARY, IMPOSE ADDITIONAL LIMITATIONS ON TREATMENTS, OR IMPOSE COST-SHARING REQUIREMENTS.
What are the pros and cons to using telehealth?
- Although research has shown that for many mental health treatments, telehealth produces similar or identical outcomes as in-person treatments, the research is still being gathered, and there are some differences to be aware of. Since telehealth generally only shows faces rather than full body, some nuances of communication via body language can be missed. Likewise, if there is a poor video or sound connection, communication can be difficult or less clear. Much like with texting conversations, it’s important to check in and make sure what you are communicating and what you are hearing is accurate and understood as intended. Overall, though, for people who are at least somewhat familiar with using computers or smartphones, telehealth is overall thought to be safe, effective, convenient, and an important tool in maintaining continuity of care.
Are there risks to using telehealth?
- Please see our consent form. Risks are minimal and similar to traditional therapy, though we will need to identify appropriate emergency plans and contacts if they were to be needed. In some cases, we may deem that telehealth is not appropriate or safe to use. In such cases, alternative options will be discussed.
Aside from talk therapy, what other kinds of behavioral health treatments can be offered via telehealth?
- So many!!! As a long-time ‘digital mental health’ provider and proponent, we are happy to share that telehealth can be used for a diverse range of beneficial treatments, including CBT, mindfulness-based approaches, EMDR (in some cases), relaxation and stress management (including hypnosis and guided imagery), virtual reality for mental health, and even biofeedback and neurofeedback. If you are interested in any of these options, and/or if you also already have any of your own equipment, such as a MUSE neurofeedback band, EmWave from Heartmath, temp sensor, or VR device (such as an Oculus Go), please let us know.
Anything else I need to know?
- You will be asked to complete a telehealth consent form before we begin our first session (via your Theranest client portal). You will also be asked to confirm your location at the start of each session and attest that others are not present and that the session is not being recorded (unless previously agreed to). We will be happy to address any other questions or concerns you may have. We are looking forward to supporting you in this way and helping you navigate these unprecedented events with resilience and meaning.