(Rockville, MD) In the wake of intensified advocacy by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), UnitedHealthcare (UHC), Cigna, and Tricare have announced expansions of their insurance coverage to include telehealth speech-language pathology services. More than 70 million Americans are potentially impacted by the changes.
ASHA’s latest advocacy efforts were grounded in a long history of fighting for increased insurance plan coverage of telehealth services. Over the years, ASHA has advocated to expand coverage across all payers including Medicare Advantage, Medicaid, Tricare, and private insurers.
“We applaud UnitedHealthcare, Cigna, and Tricare for expanding their coverage,” ASHA President Theresa H. Rodgers, MA, CCC-SLP said. “Their decisions to do so are a powerful example for insurers as a whole to follow.”
Rodgers added: “We look forward to more ASHA members having the option to provide services through telehealth. Such service delivery is needed more than ever as the nation seeks to keep care accessible as it battles to contain COVID-19.”
Although the newly announced expansions mark a huge step forward, Rodgers says advocacy is still needed. ASHA is urgingother payers to do the same and is asking Congress and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to expand coverage of telehealth services for Medicare.
“Many people,” Rodgers notes, “some of whom are the most vulnerable among us, would not be able to receive care any other way.”
About the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
ASHA is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for 211,000 members and affiliates who are audiologists; speech-language pathologists; speech, language, and hearing scientists; audiology and speech-language pathology support personnel; and students. Audiologists specialize in preventing and assessing hearing and balance disorders as well as providing audiologic treatment, including hearing aids. Speech-language pathologists identify, assess, and treat speech and language problems, including swallowing disorders.
View all ASHA press releases at www.asha.org/about/news.