In June 2023, the Percentage of Asynchronous Telehealth Claim Lines for Mental Health Conditions More than Doubled in the Midwest
Telehealth Utilization Was Stable Nationally but Decreased in the Midwest in June 2023, according to FAIR Health’s Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker
NEW YORK, NY—September 6, 2023—In June 2023, the percentage of asynchronous telehealth claim lines for mental health conditions more than doubled in the Midwest, according to FAIR Health’s Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker. 1,2 In that region, mental health conditions rose from 15.9 percent of asynchronous telehealth claim lines in May to 36.0 percent in June and replaced hypertension as the number one diagnosis. Nationally, mental health conditions also rose, moving from number five to number four among the top five diagnoses via asynchronous telehealth. The data represent the privately insured population, including Medicare Advantage and excluding Medicare Fee-for-Service and Medicaid.
National telehealth utilization remained stable at 5.4 percent of claim lines in both May and June 2023. In the Midwest, however, telehealth utilization decreased by 2.4 percent, while in the three other census regions it remained unchanged (0.0 percent).
Top Five Telehealth Diagnoses
Nationally, the top five telehealth diagnoses remained the same in June 2023 as in May 2023, though their ordering changed. Joint/soft tissue diseases and issues rose from number four to number three in the telehealth diagnosis rankings, switching places with developmental disorders. Regionally, in the Northeast and West, joint/soft tissue diseases and issues diagnoses increased as well, entering the rankings in the Northeast at number five and making up a slightly higher percentage of claims in the West (rising from 2.2 percent in May to 2.3 percent in June) while remaining in second place.
In June, the percentage of telehealth claim lines for acute respiratory diseases and infections continued to decrease nationally and in all regions. This was the sixth straight month of national decreases, though it still ranked in second place and comprised 1.9 percent of claim lines in June. In the Northeast, Midwest and West, acute respiratory diseases and infections did not make the top five rankings at all in June, despite being ranked third in the Northeast and second in the Midwest in May. In the South, it remained in the number two position but dropped from 5.2 percent of claims in May to 3.8 percent in June.
Mental health conditions continued to dominate the top five telehealth diagnoses nationally and in all regions. From May to June 2023, it also increased in its percentage of claim lines in all areas.
Audio-Only Telehealth Usage
In June 2023, utilization of audio-only telehealth services decreased nationally and in all regions except the rural South, where it rose slightly from 5.0 percent to 5.1 percent. As in May 2023, utilization of audio-only telehealth services was higher in rural than urban areas of the Midwest, Northeast and West. Nationally, it was higher in urban areas (4.8 percent of telehealth claim lines) than rural areas (4.5 percent), while in the South it was much higher in urban (9.1 percent) than rural (5.1 percent) areas.
Telehealth Cost Corner
For June 2023, the Telehealth Cost Corner spotlighted the cost of CPT® 3 90837, psychotherapy, 1 hour. Nationally, the median charge amount for this service when rendered via telehealth was $166.95, and the median allowed amount was $103.41. 4
About the Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker
Launched in May 2020 as a free service, the Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker uses FAIR Health data to track how telehealth is evolving from month to month. An interactive map of the four US census regions allows the user to view an infographic on telehealth in a specific month in the nation as a whole or in individual regions. Each infographic shows month-to-month changes in volume of telehealth claim lines and audio-only telehealth usage (urban versus rural); the Telehealth Cost Corner, which presents a specific telehealth procedure code with its median charge amount and median allowed amount; and that month’s top five telehealth diagnoses and top five diagnoses via asynchronous telehealth.
FAIR Health President Robin Gelburd stated: “We welcome sharing these varying windows into telehealth utilization as it continues to evolve. This is one of the many ways we pursue our healthcare transparency mission.”
For the Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker, click here.
1 A claim line is an individual service or procedure listed on an insurance claim.
2 Asynchronous telehealth is telehealth in which data are stored and forwarded (e.g., blood pressure or other cardiac-related readings transmitted electronically; A1c levels transmitted electronically). In the context of care for mental health conditions, asynchronous telehealth can include patient portal messaging, store-and-forward video and other interventions such as forwarding journal entries to be reviewed by a therapist.
3 CPT © 2022 American Medical Association (AMA). All rights reserved.
4 A charge amount is the provider’s undiscounted fee, which a patient may have to pay when the patient is uninsured, or when the patient chooses to go to a provider who does not belong to the patient’s plan’s network. An allowed amount is the total negotiated, in-network fee paid to the provider under an insurance plan. It includes the amount that the health plan pays and the part the patient pays under the plan’s in-network cost-sharing provisions (e.g., copay or coinsurance if the patient has met the deductible).