The rapid adoption of telehealth could change the structure of health plan networks. While the opportunities to increase access to care in underserved rural areas is the most obvious effect, telehealth increases access to care in urban areas as well. As consumers become more comfortable with telehealth, forming competitive health plan networks for new entrants into a health insurance market may be easier if it can utilize telehealth. It has the potential to increase competition in the health services market, which could lower health insurance claims costs.
Author: William S. Custer, PhD, is the director of the Center for Health Services Research in the J. Mack Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University. Previously, he was the director of research at the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining EBRI, Dr. Custer was an economist in the Center for Health Policy Research at the American Medical Association, and served as assistant professor of economics at Northern Illinois University.
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