|New Report by Anthem Public Policy Institute Reveals Virtual Health Usage Among Medicare Advantage Members During COVID-19|
As part of Anthem’s coordinated response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company has taken steps to ensure access and coverage by adapting tools and policies, leveraging its expertise in data and advanced analytics to provide innovative solutions, and delivering outreach and relief to those in need. These steps also included increasing access to virtual care for video and telephone-only visits which —along with the resultant adoption of social distancing and stay-at-home orders— have shifted the way consumers access care.
“Earlier this year, the delivery of care changed as a result of the pandemic, so we examined that shift in order to better understand how members were using and accessing care,” said
Care rendered within existing patient-provider relationships accounted for 98 percent of the virtual services. While the vast majority of care was attributable to existing patient-providers relationships, the number of services for new patient encounters in March-
The analysis shows that mental health conditions and substance use disorders was the largest group of primary diagnoses treated virtually, with year over year growth in services of more than 5,000 percent. Among physical health conditions, cardiovascular diagnoses were the most commonly addressed via virtual visits during this period, followed by musculoskeletal ailments and endocrine and metabolic conditions.
The brief also breaks down the virtual services across demographics and shows that older members, while using more virtual services than the year before, used a smaller share of virtual services during 2020 than might be expected based on their 2019 in-person utilization.