Insurers keep getting on web visit bandwagon

A growing number of health plans have begun to pay for patients to participate in online visits with their doctor. In recent months Aetna and Cigna have started paying for some doctors' visits on the web, and given their industry status as being influential, others are sure to follow soon. In both cases, patients have to pay a co-pay to have an e-visit, just as they would if they saw the doctor in person. Meanwhile, players like McKesson-owned Relay Health is slowly but surely gathering subscribers for its secure web site tailored to delivering e-visits, signing up 16,000 physician subscribers to date. Aetna and Cigna both contract with Relay Health.

All that being said, one major player remains on the sidelines to date. Things will get really interesting when Medicare pays for online visits. However, there's currently no word as to how soon that might happen, if at all, though it is experimenting with other telemedicine options.

To learn more about this trend:
- read this Philadelphia Inquirer piece

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