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How the COVID-19 Pandemic has Impacted Insurance Billing for Mental Health Practices


blue black ground with text saying "COVID-19" with downward trend arrow

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the insurance billing process for mental health practices. Prior to the pandemic, many mental health providers were already facing challenges with insurance reimbursement for their services. The pandemic and the rise of telehealth has exacerbated these challenges and created new ones.


One of the major impacts of the pandemic on insurance billing for mental health practices has been the shift towards telehealth. As a result of social distancing measures and lockdowns, many mental health providers had to move their sessions online, and this has now become much more of a norm for patients seeking mental healthcare. The accessibility of telehealth is an attractive option for patients with lifestyles that would have prevented receiving mental health care prior to the pandemic and the rise of virtual therapy sessions. While telehealth has allowed patients to continue receiving care through the pandemic and as they have returned to work, it has also created challenges for billing insurance companies. Some insurance companies have been slow to reimburse for telehealth services, and some have different reimbursement rates for in-person and telehealth services. This has caused confusion and financial difficulties for some mental health practices.


Over the course of the pandemic, Practice Solutions has prioritized understanding each insurance company’s response to telehealth expansion, and we have a solid understanding of billing telehealth sessions at each insurance company. Our billers are well equipped to stay ahead of continued changes to telehealth billing, as well as any other larger shifts within the insurance world. With a Practice Solutions biller, you can be sure that your claims are being submitted following all of the current regulations, and that any rejections and denials are investigated and resolved diligently. Our job is to remove the burden of billing so you can focus on your patients, and you can rely on your biller for education and billing and coding support along the way.


Another impact of the pandemic on insurance billing for mental health practices has been an increase in demand for mental health services. The stress and uncertainty caused by the pandemic has led to an increase in patients seeking mental health care. This has put a strain on mental health practices, as they have had to deal with a higher volume of patients while also facing changes and challenges with insurance reimbursement. The influx of mental health claim submissions came as employees in insurance companies were also returning to work and adjusting to a new work environment, resulting in significant delays in claim processing and high call volumes in the insurance companies.


Practice Solutions billing services allow providers to keep up with an increased demand of mental health services by handling all claim submission and follow up for you. We take many of the long phone calls (we’ve come to enjoy the hold music) off of your plate, giving you more time that you can dedicate to your patients while we resolve insurance issues.


As the events of the pandemic unfolded, there were concerns that insurance companies may not provide enough coverage for mental health services. These services are often considered "optional" by insurance companies, and coverage can vary widely. The pandemic has highlighted the importance of mental health care, and has made it clear that access to mental health services should be a priority for insurance companies.


The end of COVID-19 is likely to have a significant impact on the telehealth policies that insurance companies established in 2020. With the pandemic behind us, there remains a need for telehealth services even as people begin to feel more comfortable visiting doctors' offices in person. This could lead to a reduction in demand for telehealth policies and insurance providers may scale back on their offerings. Additionally, there may be more restrictions and regulations around telehealth policies as COVID-related emergency measures relax. However, it’s possible that the convenience and cost savings of telehealth may still make it an attractive option for patients and insurance companies, leading to a continuation of these policies in some form. Ultimately, the future of telehealth policies will depend on a range of factors including patient preferences, healthcare costs, and technological advancements. As the public health emergency ends, more resources and guidance will be made available to keep you and your staff up-to-date regarding the latest changes to telehealth policies. Recent legislation authorized an extension of many of the policies outlined in the COVID-19 public health emergency through December 31, 2024, but it is important to stay informed on these changes. Practice Solutions is committed to ensuring you are provided with up to date information so you can focus on patient care.


In conclusion, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the insurance billing process for mental health practices. While telehealth has allowed patients to continue receiving care, it has also created challenges for billing insurance companies. Additionally, the pandemic has increased demand for mental health services, and has highlighted the importance of adequate coverage for mental health services. It is crucial that insurance companies and mental health practices work together to ensure that patients have access to the care they need during this challenging time. Working with a Practice Solutions biller can help bridge the gap between providers and insurance companies. Contact us today to learn how our billing services can help your practice thrive!


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