Billing in the Telehealth Era: What’s Changing and How?

Medically Reviewed By: Dr Alex Evans
Image Credit: Canva

Key Takeaways 

  • Billing Evolution: The rise of telehealth has necessitated changes in medical billing, introducing unique coding challenges, and emphasizing the need for accurate modifiers and thorough documentation.
  • Reimbursement Dynamics: The reimbursement model for telehealth is evolving, with more insurers recognizing its value. Providers must stay updated with policy changes to ensure accurate compensation for their services.
  • Regulatory Vigilance: As telehealth becomes mainstream, its regulatory environment remains dynamic. Continuous awareness of these changes is crucial for providers to maintain compliance and deliver high-quality care.

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The telehealth revolution has a quite expected but equally critical knock-on effect on the healthcare financial system. Medical billing, which forms the backbone of this system, , has been undergoing significant transformation, particularly in the wake of the telehealth revolution. The rapid advancement in digital health technologies and the increased adoption of telehealth services have necessitated changes in the way we approach medical billing. In this blog, we will follow the path that the evolution of medical billing has taken in the telehealth era, highlight its key changes, and identify issues that healthcare providers need to be aware of.

The Rise of Telehealth: A Brief Overview

Telehealth is a catch-all term that describes the interconnected deployment of digital technologies – including smartphones, videoconferencing, and digital patient monitoring –  to deliver healthcare remotely. Over the past few years, especially during the recent global health crises, telehealth services experienced a significant surge in usage and adoption. Patients, especially those in remote locations or with limited mobility, have found immense value in receiving care without having to travel to a physical clinic or hospital.

How Billing for Telehealth Differs from Traditional Methods

Traditionally, medical billing is straightforward, and involves face-to-face interactions, physical paperwork, and standard billing codes for the medical procedures performed. Unfortunately,  virtual consultations that are the mainstay of telehealth services obviously present their own unique billing considerations.

Coding Challenges: Telehealth uses specific Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes that differentiate it from in-person services. Providers must familiarize themselves with these codes to avoid claim denials.

Modifiers are Crucial: Modifiers indicate that a service was provided via telehealth. Missing or incorrectly applying a modifier can lead to reimbursement issues.

Reimbursement Landscape for Telehealth

While telehealth offers numerous benefits, its reimbursement model has been a grey area for many providers. Initially, many insurance companies were reluctant to reimburse providers for virtual visits at the same rate as in-person visits. However, recognizing the value and potential cost savings of telehealth, several insurers and government programs have now expanded their reimbursement policies, with a positive impact on rates.

It is essential for providers to frequently check with individual insurance companies to stay up to speed with current reimbursement rates and policy changes for telehealth services.

Importance of Documentation

The importance of thorough and correct documentation cannot be emphasized enough,  and has probably become even more critical with telehealth services than it was  with traditional medical services. Proper documentation ensures:

Compliance with legal and regulatory standards.

Accurate and timely reimbursements.

A clear record of patient interactions and the care provided.

Providers must therefore ensure that their Electronic Health Records (EHR) systems are equipped to handle telehealth-specific documentation requirements.

Staying Updated with Changing Regulations

The regulatory environment for telehealth is dynamic. With telehealth becoming more mainstream, governments are continuously revising regulations to ensure patient safety and care quality. Providers must stay abreast of these changes to ensure compliance and uninterrupted service.


The telehealth era presents an exciting opportunity for healthcare providers to expand their reach and offer convenient care options to their patients. However, this new avenue also brings new challenges, particularly in the realm of medical billing. By understanding the changing landscape, staying updated with regulations, and ensuring proper documentation, providers can seamlessly integrate telehealth into their practice and enjoy its myriad benefits.

Remember, as with any change, there’s a learning curve involved. The telehealth journey may seem daunting, but with the right approach and tools, it can lead to a more efficient, patient-centric healthcare system.


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