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Independence expands telemedicine coverage during COVID-19 outbreak

Elderly 70s man seated on sofa make distant video call, senior patient look at laptop screen communicating with doctor therapist online, older generation and modern tech application easy usage concept

Changes encourage social distancing and increase access to care

Philadelphia, PA — March 20, 2020 — Independence Blue Cross (Independence) announced today that it is expanding its coverage of telemedicine services. The change is one of many efforts to encourage social distancing and increase access to care.

Independence announced on March 6 that it would waive copays for telemedicine services for eligible members through June 4, 2020. Today, Independence announced that it will make the following additional changes:

  • Expanding telemedicine to include specialist visits (via video or telephone).
  • Expanding telemedicine to include:
    – Physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy visits (via video)
    – Urgent care visits (via video or telephone)
    – Nutritionists visits (via video or telephone)
  • Expanding existing coverage for behavioral health visits to include members with autism spectrum disorder so that they can receive Applied Behavior Analysis support while they are at home.

Regular cost-sharing will apply to telemedicine visits with specialists and ancillary providers that are not related to COVID-19 testing. Cost-sharing will be waived for COVID-19 testing and primary care telemedicine visits for high-deductible health plan members and will be covered before deductible.

All changes will be in effect through June 4, 2020.

To access telemedicine options, Independence members should log in to the member website at

Independence is also:

  • Covering and reimbursing member cost-sharing (such as copays, deductibles, and coinsurance) for the COVID-19 test and the administration of the test when performed at a physician’s office, urgent care center, or an emergency room.
  • Covering medically necessary health care costs to treat infectious diseases, including COVID-19, based on the terms of the member’s insurance plan.
  • Lifting prescription refill restrictions, such as the “refill too soon” limit, for all commercial, individual, CHIP, and Medicare Advantage members with Independence pharmacy benefits. Independence has also been encouraging members to use their 90-day mail order benefit.

Independence’s top priority during the COVID-19 situation is to ensure members have access to the care, education and support they need. Besides updating coverage policies, Independence has assisted members through Registered Nurse Health Coach outreach, digital resources, and more.

For more information about COVID-19 and Independence’s response, please visit


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Diana Quattrone
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