Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey will waive all member cost-sharing obligations for telemedicine from in-network doctors or through the system's own telemedicine platforms, it said Friday.

The move from the state's largest insurer expands on a series of changes made by it and other insurers to expand care or minimize risk of exposure during the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.

BHBCBS said the waiver would apply to qualified telemedicine visits "for any covered purpose including diagnosis or treatment of COVID-19, routine care, or mental health care."

It doesn't change the benefits covered by member plans, only the cost of using them. The waiver will be in effect for the next 90 days, the insurer said.

The changes include those covered through Medicaid, Medicare, Individual and Small Group policies. The State Health Benefits and School Employees Health Benefits Programs have also agreed to waive cost-sharing for their members for these services, BHBCBS said.

No prior authorization is required.

Other steps by insurers, New Jersey

The company announced last week it would pay all fees for COVID-19 testing. It also waived prior authorization requirements for visits to primary care and urgent care doctos for patients who have symptoms that could indicate coronavirus, as well as prior authorization requirements for diagnostic tests consistent with CDC guidance.

Aetna announced in early March that for 90 days, it will will offer zero co-pay telemedicine visits, as well as 90-day maintenance medication prescriptions for insured and Medicare members. It waived early refill limits on 30-day prescription maintenance medications for all members with pharmacy benefits administered through CVS Caremark. It will also waive co-pays for all diagnostic testing related to COVID-19.

Gov. Phil Murphy on March 10 issued a directive making it possible for those who get their health insurance coverage through the state and public schools to be tested for COVID-19 at no cost.

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