Skip to content Skip to navigation

Payers Are Embracing Telemedicine, Report Finds

July 16, 2014
by Rajiv Leventhal
| Reprints

Health insurers are now letting millions of patients get seen online first in an effort to reduce unnecessary hospital visits and overall healthcare costs.

According to a recent Bloomberg report, WellPoint and Aetna, among other health insurers, are embracing the major expansion of telemedicine. This month, WellPoint started offering 4 million patients the ability to have e-visits with doctors, while Aetna says it will boost online access to 8 million people next year from 3 million now, the report said.

WellPoint started incorporating electronic visits as a benefit for more than 4 million members in 10 states in July and UnitedHealth Group (UNH), the largest healthcare insurer by market capitalization, began a pilot in January with 310,000 people in Nevada. Both companies also offer access to the American Well service for a flat fee.

The insurers are joining with companies such as Teladoc, MDLive and American Well Corp. that offer virtual visits with doctors who, in some states, can prescribe drugs for anything from sinus infections to back pain.

In June, the American Medical Association offered new guidelines to shape telemedicine’s development, saying that it's important for a valid patient-physician relationship to be established before the technology is used in practice.

Topics

News

IBM Security: Healthcare Cyber Attacks Prevalent, but Less Records Breached in ’16

A new report from IBM Security found that healthcare—not too long ago the most attacked industry by cyber criminals—fell out of the top five of most breached industries.

FBI Notification: Cyber Criminals Targeting FTP Servers to Compromise PHI

The Federal Bureau of Investigation issued a warning that cyber criminals are actively targeting File Transfer Protocol (FTP) servers operating in “anonymous” mode and associated with medical and dental facilities to access protected health information (PHI).

Texas HIE Approved as CMS Qualified Registry

Healthcare Access San Antonio (HASA), a health information exchange (HIE) organization in San Antonio and surrounding Texas counties, has received clearance from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to become a qualified registry.

Media Report: Evolent Health Exploring Merger with Advisory Board

Evolent Health, an Arlington, Va.-based healthcare technology provider, is exploring a potential combination with The Advisory Board, a Washington, D.C.-based healthcare consulting firm, according to a report from Reuters published on Friday.

Urology Austin Falls Victim to Ransomware Attack, Alerts 200K Patients

The Texas-based Urology Austin has acknowledged that it fell victim to a ransomware attack in January, and has since notified some 200,000 patients that their information might have been breached.

University of Maryland Medical System Earns HIMSS Stage 6 Recognition

The University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), based in Baltimore, has achieved Stage 6 on HIMSS Analytics’ Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model (EMRAM) for the ambulatory environment.