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Governor Cuomo Outlines Priorities in State of the State Address

Governor Andrew Cuomo delivered his four-part State of the State address, outlining his priorities and proposals for the year. He did not focus much on the big ticket items like health care and education, but we can expect more substance to come with his budget unveiling this week.

Some of the Governor’s health care-related proposals featured in his State of the State include:
  • Eliminating Health Care Premiums for Low-Income New Yorkers
    • Eliminate premiums under the Essential Plan for 400,000 low-income residents
    • Enroll 100,000 residents who are currently uninsured
  • Comprehensive Telehealth Legislation
    • Adjust reimbursement rates for telehealth appointments
    • Remove location requirements and other regulations
    • Additional incentives for utilizing telehealth

The number of telehealth visits soared in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. And health plans met the challenge.

For example, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield processed 2.2 million telehealth claims in 2020, compared to 28,529 in 2019.

Excellus BCBS spent $102 million in 2020 to expand telehealth coverage to all members and waive any member cost-share responsibility for telehealth services, regardless of the medical issue. The insurer increased provider reimbursement rates to help replace some of the revenue lost due to the decline in in-office patient visits. The health plan’s provider relations team trained more than 500 health care providers in the use of telehealth technology and proper claims submission for telehealth visits.