Medicaid, private insurers embrace pacts with telemedicine providers

Doctor using cellphone and tablet

Partnerships between health insurers and telemedicine providers are on the rise as more private and public plans provide at least some reimbursement for telehealth services, according to a Healthcare Dive article.

Teladoc and RelayHealth are among the telemedicine providers partnering with private insurers, according to the article. Here are some other signs telemedicine is gaining acceptance as a way to cover gaps in traditional coverage:

  • Only two states don’t provide any Medicaid reimbursement for telehealth services.
  • Telemedicine parity laws for private payers are in place in 29 states and the District of Columbia, including 22 states that place no restrictions on providers or technology.
  • Thirty-two states and D.C. offer some kind of private insurance coverage for telemedicine.

Another successful partnership cited by the article is the case of CirrusMD, which works with Rocky Mountain Health Plans to offer a telemedicine platform called MyDigitalMD to schedule video visits and text messaging to privately insured patients along with 140,000 Medicaid patients in 22 Colorado counties. Text messaging accounted for 85 percent of patient encounters.

The partnership saved $435 per encounter by diverting visits to the emergency department, urgent care and primary care offices, the article adds.

Insurers both large and small are increasingly warming up to the concept of telemedicine, though they sometimes face barriers in the form of restrictive regulations.

To learn more:
- here’s the Healthcare Dive article