According to survey findings cited by America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), 69 percent of respondents said they preferred telehealth over in-person care because of its convenience. Many patients and healthcare providers started using telemedicine more frequently as the COVID-19 outbreak got worse. Federal and state governments encouraged this by granting flexibilities that eliminated barriers to this form of treatment, resulting in greater patient access. The high rate of telehealth usage has continued throughout the pandemic, even when the severity of COVID-19 decreased as more people had access to vaccinations and treatments. The FAIR Health Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker shows that in May, telehealth utilization grew by 10.2 percent.
AHIP conducted a study to learn more about how Americans felt about telehealth. A study on the usage of telehealth during the previous year was undertaken by NORC at the University of Chicago utilizing the AmeriSpeak panel and 1,000 Americans, 498 of whom have employer-provided or individual market coverage. The survey showed that 40 percent of participants who reported being commercially insured said they had used telehealth during the previous year, and 53 percent said they had used it two to five times. Approximately 69 percent of telehealth users with commercial insurance claimed they used telehealth because it was more convenient than receiving care in person, 78 percent said it was simpler to seek healthcare through telehealth, and 85 percent said there were enough providers available through telehealth to meet their specific needs. Additionally, 73 percent of commercial telehealth users said Congress should establish long-term rules that provide reimbursement of telehealth services before a patient pays their entire deductible. Finally, the survey also reveals that women were nearly four times as likely than men to indicate they attended a telehealth consultation because they lacked eldercare or childcare.
“Patients and providers accept – and often prefer – digital technologies as an essential part of health care delivery,” said Jeanette Thornton, Executive Vice President of Policy and Strategy at AHIP. “Telehealth can be just as effective as in-person care for many conditions and allows patients to receive more services ‘where they are.’ That’s why health insurance providers are committed to strengthening and improving both access and use for the millions of Americans who use telehealth for their health care needs.”