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Telehealth Benefit Expanded to Behavioral Health and Other Providers
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impose quarantines and social distancing, patients may be finding it more difficult to get to clinics and other facilities for health care services. But there is another option.
Telehealth consultations can be an effective alternative to traditional office visits, by permitting real-time communication between patients and doctors and delivery of health care services through interactive audio and/or video technology. These virtual office visits can be especially convenient if you are on a jobsite, or live in a remote area, or cannot otherwise get to a provider's office.
The Carpenters Health and Security Plan was amended in 2017 to cover these technology-enabled office visits. As written, the benefit for telehealth consultations is limited to cold or flu symptoms, allergies, urinary tract infections, bronchitis, ear infections, and certain skin conditions. Recently, however, in response to the unusual circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Board of Trustees voted to temporarily expand this benefit to cover other providers and services, such as behavioral health counseling and regular “check-in” appointments for conditions requiring monitoring or treatment. The cost-sharing arrangement for this benefit is unchanged.