The four major health insurance companies have voluntarily expanded their coverage of tele-health services in this time where social distancing is more important than ever.

Montana’s State Auditor and Insurance Commissioner, Matt Rosendale made the announcement on Thursday.

“We have just received some federal guidance which allows more vendors and applications to be used for tele-health and still comply with the HIPPA privacy standards,” said Rosendale. “Covered health providers may use popular applications that allow for video chats, and even for audio consultation.”

Rosendale said the four major insurers in Montana have gone to great lengths to cooperate with his office in making services more convenient for their clients.

“I commend these companies for taking these actions voluntarily without a government mandate and note that the four insurer’s actions apply to all covered medical and behavioral tele-health services, and not just related to the COVID 19 pandemic,” he said. “I applaud Montana’s four major health insurers for stepping up to increase access to healthcare during this time of adversity.”

The whole idea is to receive quality healthcare while not exposing the patient or the provider to possible COVID 19 infection.

“Insurers are encouraging members to consult a qualified healthcare provider while avoiding unnecessary visits to clinics, hospitals and emergency rooms,” he said. “Our four major carriers, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana, Pacific Source Health Plan, the Montana Health Co-op, and Allegiance Life and Health Insurance companies have all agreed to accommodate the new federal guidance which is going to be very beneficial to allow people to get access to health care so that they can remain in their homes and not be exposed.”

Rosendale said that Montanans should follow the guidance of medical professionals and discuss their specific insurance policy with their insurance company regarding coverage for tele-health services.