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Humana (HUM) Extends Telehealth Services to Fight Coronavirus

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Humana Inc. (HUM - Free Report) recently expanded the availability of telehealth services to reduce exposure to risks from the coronavirus outbreak. The World Health Organization-declared global pandemic already infected 375498 people to date across 196 countries or territories and took lives of 16362 patients.

Rationale Behind the Initiative

In these critical times, Humana continues to help its members with an array of added affordable and feasible services, which include early prescription refills, wider coverage of telehealth visits for urgent healthcare, etc.

These endeavors by the company are expected to meet or exceed guidance provided by regulatory agencies at the state and federal levels including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

The provisions are applicable to the company’s Medicare Advantage, Medicaid and commercial employer-sponsored plans. The steps include expansion of member cost share waivers for telehealth services, expansion of telehealth service scope and reimbursement rules along with telehealth channels, etc.

Earlier, the company declared its measures to fight the COVID-19 outbreak, such as waiving the out-of-pocket costs for COVID-19 test, allowing early prescription refills so that patients can prepare for additional supply requirements and providing a support line with trained call centre staff to help members with coronavirus-related queries and concerns.

Growth of Telehealth Services

The coronavirus outbreak brought telehealth services to the limelight. Despite the U.S. government’s measures to make telemedicine mainstream for the past few years, primarily to minimize healthcare costs and increase access of care, the sector is yet to receive mass acceptance. Nevertheless, post the COVID-19 outbreak, the situation looks drastically changed.

This breakthrough is evident as another health insurer Anthem Inc. (ANTM - Free Report) is appointing more doctors for its online service, LiveHealth Online. UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (UNH - Free Report) also declared that its services are available for taking virtual consultations. Magellan Health, Inc.’s (MGLN - Free Report) behavioral and specialty healthcare segment also extended its telehealth services and other initiatives to aid clients amid the coronavirus outbreak.

In fact, the Trump administration announced an unprecedented expansion of telehealth services for seniors to combat the risk of spreading the novel coronavirus.

Per a TIME report, “If extreme measures like mass quarantines come to pass, telehealth could finally have its bittersweet moment in the spotlight, potentially generating momentum that proponents hope will continue once life returns to normal.”

Shares of this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company have lost 10.9% in a year's time, narrower than its industry's decline of 14.9%.You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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