Cigna to cover telehealth doctor consults

Cigna will begin offering telehealth consultations to some of its members next year after reaching a deal with MDLive, a Florida-based telehealth company.

Under the agreement, members of Cigna's self-insured employer groups will have access to 24/7 consultations, whether through online video, phone or email, with more than 2,000 internal medicine, family practice and pediatric doctors who work for MDLive. The consultations can address non-emergency issues, including colds, rashes and headaches, MobiHealthNews reported.

"We are committed to offering our customers services that help improve their health and make their lives easier – and MDLive represents anytime, anywhere access to quality care," Jackie Aube, head of product development at Cigna, said in a statement, according to mHIMSS. "It's a cost-effective and convenient alternative to an office visit with your primary care physician."

If a self-insured business offers the MDLive service to its employees, the consults will be part of Cigna's regular network's negotiated rates and co-pays--which means the consult costs could be less expensive than a typical office or urgent care center visit, reported the South Florida Business Journal.

Any medical advice or information occurring during these consults will be transferred to the member's records to ensure continuity of care. "Whatever takes place during an MDLive visit is captured and transferred securely to the patient's primary care provider," MDLive CEO Randy Parker told MobiHealthNews. "We find that more than 70 percent of the patients who go to the ER could have avoided that visit or at least resolved their problems through a solution and a platform like MDLive."

To learn more:
- read the mHIMSS article
- see the MobiHealthNews article
- check out the South Florida Business Journal article

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