New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into a law that requires insurers to offer the same reimbursement to patients who get services via telehealth and telemedicine as if it were done in person.
The parity law makes New York the 22nd state to enact a commercial telemedicine statute. The bill, sponsored by New York Senator Catharine Young (R), ensures that insurers will not only cover telemedicine and telehealth, but that deductibles, co-insurance or other conditions for coverage of telemedicine will not differ from those conditions applicable to in-person service. The law retroactively took place on Jan. 1, 2015, although Nate Lackman, a Tampa-based health care lawyer and partner at Foley and Lardner, LLP writes in a blog that insurance policies will not take place until later this year with companies updating their policies.
The law distinguishes telemedicine and telehealth. The latter is more focused on remote -monitoring devices and the former is using video conferencing services to make an assessment. This is important, Lackman writes, because it's not clear if insurers will be required to cover telehealth services that are not covered under the plan as in-person services. Remote-monitoring doesn't always lead itself to in-person visits, he notes.
According to the American Telemedicine Association, Missouri and a few other states are considering enacting a parity law of their own in the coming months.