Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced emergency actions to expand telehealth uses in the state.

Telehealth can be used not only for health care services related to COVID-19, but for other appropriate health care services needed during this time. This action includes allowing telehealth for mental health and substance abuse treatment.

Through emergency rules and an executive order, the Pritzker administration relaxed telemedicine rules for both Medicaid and private insurers, allowing more providers to get reimbursed for these services, giving patients more flexibility and safety.

The requirement for Medicaid and private health insurers to cover telehealth costs remains in effect for the duration of the governor’s COVID-19 disaster proclamation.

For plans regulated by the Department of Insurance, the executive order calls for providers to be reimbursed at the same rate at which they are reimbursed for in-person visits and prohibits private health insurers from imposing any cost-sharing for in-network providers. An exception includes those enrolled in high-deductible health plans who have not yet met their deductible amount and for which the health service is not preventative care.

For Medicaid, the emergency rules also require providers to be reimbursed at the same rate at which they are reimbursed for in-person visits.

President Donald Trump also announced an expansion of telehealth services for Medicare. A range of health care providers, such as doctors, nurse practitioners, clinical psychologists and licensed clinical social workers, will be able to offer telehealth. Medicare patients will be able to receive those services in any health care facility, including a doctor’s office, hospital, nursing home or rural health clinic, as well as their homes.

The telehealth services will include common office visits, mental health counseling and preventive health screenings.

Direct questions about using telehealth services to your health care provider or health insurer.