Colorado is a telehealth friendly state. On January 1, 2017 a Colorado Telehealth law went into effect that requires health insurance carriers to cover health care services delivered to their members via telemedicine technologies on par with that same level of care delivered by an in-person visit. A revision of that law was signed by Governor Hickenlooper on 3/16/17. The revision clarified that:
- A health plan cannot restrict or deny coverage of telehealth services based upon the telemedicine application used to deliver the services or the communication device upon which the telehealth services are received.
- Just because telehealth services may make available more distantly located providers, this does not change the health plans obligation to contract with local community providers to provide in-person services.
- The health plan is not required to pay or reimburse the cost of data transmission incurred by the covered person for the delivery of telehealth services to or from that person’s home or a private residence.
- Telehealth does NOT include the delivery of health care via ‘voice-only’ communication or text messaging, but DOES include services provided through a cellular phone if obtained through a HIPAA-compliant interactive audio-visual application. The current law also does not allow the delivery of health care services by fax or email.
This amendment takes another step further in helping to promote and guarantee the financial feasibility of utilizing telehealth in the state. It also helps protect the health care providers in the communities by making sure that providers of care through telehealth services are not deemed as replacements for local providers. This is a win-win for both patients and providers. It helps address access to care issues for patients throughout the state while improving protections from denial of coverage for providers of telehealth services.
This law has had bipartisan support and was sponsored by Representatives Donald Valdez and Perry Buck, as well as Senators Kerry Donovan and Larry Crowder. As a telemedicine service, we applaud the state of Colorado for being at the forefront of modernizing the healthcare system and improving healthcare access for the patients, no matter where that patient is located.
Care on Location, is currently “in-network” with UnitedHealthcare and Cigna. But soon we will be seeking out partnerships with other health plans. Visit us at Care on Location for more information on our services and to get seen by our medical providers.