Health Plans Extend Telemedicine, Cost-Share Waivers
By David Doolittle


Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, health plans in Texas have adopted various temporary deadlines and extensions as part of their coronavirus policies.

The following payers have published recent extensions: 

  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) says state-regulated, fully insured HMO, PPO, and Medicare members’ cost-share will be waived for COVID-19 testing during the public health emergency. Two new telemedicine medical services and telehealth service policies are posted, effective Jan. 1 and Feb. 12.
  • Cigna has extended customer cost-share waivers for testing and related office visits until Jan. 21. Treatment cost-share waivers are extended to Feb. 15 and other interim accommodations (e.g., credentialing) to March 31. In addition, a new virtual care policy is now available.
  • UnitedHealthcare says its cost-share waiver for testing and testing-related visits has been extended to Jan. 20. Cost-share for treatment is extended until Jan. 31. for Medicare Advantage members. In addition, updates to COVID-19-related visits via telemedicine, including audio-only, can be found in their updated policy effective Jan. 1.
  • Aetna has updated its telemedicine policy, available at The health insurer extended its telemedicine coverage, including audio-only, until further notice. For commercial plans, cost-share will be waived for in-network behavioral health real-time virtual visits through Jan. 31. Cost-share for Medicare Advantage plan members is waived for primary care and specialist visits, including behavioral health.
  • Humana continues to extend cost-sharing waivers for Medicare members regarding treatment for the 2021 plan year. Employer group members’ treatment cost-share waiver ended Dec. 31.

The Texas Medical Association has been tracking health plans’ various waivers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as state and federal deadlines and program extensions.

Find more information, tools, and resources on the COVID-19 Resource Center and Practice Viability pages, which are updated frequently.

Last Updated On

January 05, 2021

Originally Published On

August 27, 2020

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David Doolittle


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Dave Doolittle is editor of Texas Medicine and Texas Medicine Today. Dave grew up in Austin, where he attended culinary school as well as the University of Texas. He spent years covering Central Texas for the Austin American-Statesman newspaper. He is the father of two girls, a proud Longhorn, and an avid motorsports fan.

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