Telemedicine parity laws now are in play in 27 states and the District of Columbia after Indiana, Minnesota and Nevada enacted their own laws this week.
Reimbursement for telemedicine services has long been a barrier to use of the technology, however that is changing as more states realize the benefits of the services. Telemedicine is also high on the priority list for many providers this year.
The three states' new parity laws, according to the American Telemedicine Association, include:
- Indiana's, which requires coverage of the services under private insurance through video, audio or other media. The law prohibits a provider from having to obtain written consent for use of telemedicine.
- Minnesota's law, which says health plans must cover and reimburse for telemedicine the same way and at the same cost as in-person service. Medicaid coverage, according to the law, is limited to three telehealth services per week per beneficiary.
- Nevada's, which requires coverage and reimbursement for telehealth under private insurance and Medicaid, as well as workers compensation (the first state to include this) to the same extent and at the same price as provided in person.
The legislature of Washington state also recently pushed through a bill requiring insurance companies to pay providers for telemedicine services on parity with that of in-person visits.
In addition, Congress is also getting behind telemed reimbursement. During a hearing in late April by the Senate subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation and the Internet, Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker (R) said he will reintroduce a bill--the Telehealth Advancement Act--to extend Medicare coverage for telemedicine services to remote areas of the country.
To learn more:
- here's the ATA announcement