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Major insurers are still waiving fees for Covid-19 telehealth visits

If you're worried about Covid-19 and want to virtually check in with your doctor following news of President Donald Trump's positive test, there's good news: Many major insurance companies are still waiving fees for such visits.

Telehealth, or doctor visits done by video or telephone, have surged in popularity amid the coronavirus pandemic as a means to protect both patients and physicians. In light of this, major insurance providers, such as Cigna, UnitedHealth, Anthem and Aetna, which is owned by CVS Health, this spring waived cost-sharing for members seeking treatment including telehealth coverage for visits related to Covid-19.

At the beginning of October, some insurers, including Anthem and UnitedHealth, changed parts of their telehealth policies, meaning that some members may have to start paying for virtual appointments, depending on their plan.

However, the changes generally do not apply to virtual visits related to Covid-19, so such appointments will not carry any out-of-pocket costs for now.

Fees for these telehealth services won't be waived forever.

Cigna has cancelled out-of-pocket costs for virtual visits related to Covid-19 through Oct. 31, and UnitedHealth's wavier on telehealth visits for the virus goes through Oct. 22.

To be sure, these timelines generally refer to employer plans — for those in Medicare plans, cost-sharing has been waived by many major insurers for most types of visits through the end of the year.

For those who want to get tested for Covid-19 or want to visit a doctor in-person for treatment, costs may be waived for a longer period, depending on your insurance carrier and individual plan.

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To get more information about what types of visits, testing and treatments for Covid-19 are covered by your plan, it's best to check your insurance provider's resource center, or call your employer or benefits administrator.  

President Trump announced in a tweet early Friday morning that he and First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive for the virus and would begin to quarantine immediately. Trump was experiencing "mild symptoms" after his positive test, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters later Friday morning.

There are more than 7.28 million coronavirus cases in the U.S., according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University. So far, more than 207,000 Americans have died due to the disease. 

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