Health insurers armed with data to show that telemedicine can increase access to quality medical care and reduce costs by preventing unnecessary emergency room visits are gradually shifting coverage policies to allow reimbursement in selected specialties. A case in point is in South Carolina, where the state’s leading insurer by market share, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, in mid-August said it would start to cover telemedicine for use in high-risk pregnancies, strokes and mental health.
Other insurers already have taken steps to cover telehealth or telemedicine services.
Still, the change in policy by the South Carolina Blues plan is a major breakthrough that should lead to even more inroads for telemedicine in the state, says Jim Ritchie, executive director of the South Carolina Alliance of Health Plans.
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