Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 38.2. Insurance
Chapter 34. Provisions Relating to Accident and Sickness Insurance
8/18/2017

§ 38.2-3418.16. Coverage for telemedicine services.

A. Notwithstanding the provisions of § 38.2-3419, each insurer proposing to issue individual or group accident and sickness insurance policies providing hospital, medical and surgical, or major medical coverage on an expense-incurred basis; each corporation providing individual or group accident and sickness subscription contracts; and each health maintenance organization providing a health care plan for health care services shall provide coverage for the cost of such health care services provided through telemedicine services, as provided in this section.

B. As used in this section, "telemedicine services," as it pertains to the delivery of health care services, means the use of electronic technology or media, including interactive audio or video, for the purpose of diagnosing or treating a patient or consulting with other health care providers regarding a patient's diagnosis or treatment. "Telemedicine services" does not include an audio-only telephone, electronic mail message, facsimile transmission, or online questionnaire.

C. An insurer, corporation, or health maintenance organization shall not exclude a service for coverage solely because the service is provided through telemedicine services and is not provided through face-to-face consultation or contact between a health care provider and a patient for services appropriately provided through telemedicine services.

D. An insurer, corporation, or health maintenance organization shall not be required to reimburse the treating provider or the consulting provider for technical fees or costs for the provision of telemedicine services; however, such insurer, corporation, or health maintenance organization shall reimburse the treating provider or the consulting provider for the diagnosis, consultation, or treatment of the insured delivered through telemedicine services on the same basis that the insurer, corporation, or health maintenance organization is responsible for coverage for the provision of the same service through face-to-face consultation or contact.

E. Nothing shall preclude the insurer, corporation, or health maintenance organization from undertaking utilization review to determine the appropriateness of telemedicine services, provided that such appropriateness is made in the same manner as those determinations are made for the treatment of any other illness, condition, or disorder covered by such policy, contract, or plan. Any such utilization review shall not require pre-authorization of emergent telemedicine services.

F. An insurer, corporation, or health maintenance organization may offer a health plan containing a deductible, copayment, or coinsurance requirement for a health care service provided through telemedicine services, provided that the deductible, copayment, or coinsurance does not exceed the deductible, copayment, or coinsurance applicable if the same services were provided through face-to-face diagnosis, consultation, or treatment.

G. No insurer, corporation, or health maintenance organization shall impose any annual or lifetime dollar maximum on coverage for telemedicine services other than an annual or lifetime dollar maximum that applies in the aggregate to all items and services covered under the policy, or impose upon any person receiving benefits pursuant to this section any copayment, coinsurance, or deductible amounts, or any policy year, calendar year, lifetime, or other durational benefit limitation or maximum for benefits or services, that is not equally imposed upon all terms and services covered under the policy, contract, or plan.

H. The requirements of this section shall apply to all insurance policies, contracts, and plans delivered, issued for delivery, reissued, or extended in the Commonwealth on and after January 1, 2011, or at any time thereafter when any term of the policy, contract, or plan is changed or any premium adjustment is made.

I. This section shall not apply to short-term travel, accident-only, or limited or specified disease policies or contracts, nor to policies or contracts designed for issuance to persons eligible for coverage under Title XVIII of the Social Security Act, known as Medicare, or any other similar coverage under state or federal governmental plans.

2010, c. 222; 2014, c. 814; 2015, cc. 32, 115.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.