Sign In

Telehealth vs In-Person Visits

During the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a shift towards telehealth, with many companies offering new online services. According to a February 2024 Forbes article, while patients appreciate the option of telehealth, as risks from gathering decrease, most prefer in-person appointments for healthcare needs - except for mental health, where 86% prefer virtual visits (MMM Online).


Another factor in this trend is that physicians worry about earning less from telehealth visits than they do for in-person, and some payers have ceased coverage of telehealth visits


However, lawmakers are working toward payment parity with several bills aimed at extending telehealth coverage, payment parity, access, and provider scope of practice. Examples of bills in Congress include (Peterson-KFF Health System Tracker): 

  • The Telehealth Expansion Act would permanently extend pre-deductible coverage of telehealth services for high-deductible health plans with a savings account. Congress established this exception in 2020 temporarily for 2 years and extended it for another 2 years through 2024. 
  • The Telehealth Benefit Expansion for Workers Act would allow employers to offer stand-alone excepted benefit telehealth plans to all employees. Currently, employers may offer stand-alone telehealth benefits to employees who are not eligible for the employer’s health coverage. This bill would require standalone telehealth plans to be subject to some Affordable Care Act (ACA) regulations like lifetime or annual cost-sharing limits, prohibition of exclusion based on pre-existing conditions, and no cost-sharing coverage of preventive services. Large employers would still be required to provide ACA-regulated comprehensive employer-sponsored health coverage for full-time employees. 
  • The Protecting Rural Telehealth Access Act would extend Medicare coverage and payment flexibility for certain telehealth or audio-only services.
  • The Telemental Health Care Access Act would eliminate Medicare requirement that mental and behavioral health providers see patients in-person in 6-months prior to a first virtual visit and at regular intervals thereafter—this requirement is set to go into effect starting on January 1, 2025. 


All of this means that we’re likely to see telehealth remain an option for most individuals. 


Health Net provides members access to Teladoc Health (Teladoc) which offers virtual health care that’s convenient, with confidential access to quality U.S. board-certified doctors. Members can book appointments through the Teladoc app, website or call 1-800-TELADOC (835-2362). 

  • Medical appointments are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from wherever you are. 
  • Behavioral health professionals can be booked 7 days a week 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. (Pacific time).