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New poll: telehealth an important tool for access to mental health care

The Alliance to Fight for Health Care, a broad-based coalition comprised of businesses, patient advocates, employer organizations, unions, health care companies, consumer groups and other stakeholders that support employer-provided health coverage, today released a Morning Consult National Tracking Poll on telehealth services.

A key provision of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) Act of 2020 helped to make telehealth more affordable and flexible for those with a health savings account, but this flexibility is set to expire on December 31, 2021. The Alliance to Fight for Health Care strongly supports an extension of this provision before the end of the year.

“We appreciate all of the actions Congress has taken to help make health care more affordable for Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said James A. Klein, president of the American Benefits Council. “As this public health emergency lingers on, telehealth services have become a virtual lifeline for working Americans and their families. We urge Congress to pass the Telehealth Expansion Act of 2021 before the end of the year to keep telehealth affordable.” 

The Morning Consult National Tracking Poll sponsored by the Alliance finds telehealth is an important benefit to adults, especially for access to mental health care. The poll finds:

  • Seven in ten insured adults (71%) feel it is important that they are able to access telehealth services under their current health care plan.

  • The vast majority (89%) rated their or their family member’s previous telehealth visit(s) as good or excellent.

  • More than two in five insured adults report (44 percent) they have personally had a telehealth appointment in the past two years while 14 percent report knowing someone in their family who has.

  • A fifth (20%) report using telehealth for mental health over the past year – which includes meeting with a therapist, counselor, psychiatrist, or primary care doctor virtually. Additionally, 8% report knowing someone in their family who has.

  • Mental health care is the second most common use of telehealth among those surveyed, behind primary care visits.

  • Most insured adults (62%) would be willing to receive mental health care virtually, driven strongly by those younger than 45.

Adults who have had a telehealth appointment, or have a family member who did, reported a wide variety of advantages for patients—all primarily focused on the convenience telehealth provides:

  • 62% — No transportation time or costs

  • 61% — Less time in the waiting room

  • 45% — Less chance of catching a new illness

  • 40% — No need to take time off from work

Polling Memo & Polling Deck

Read the Alliance’s support letter for the Telehealth Expansion Act

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