Last week, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a package of bills HB 5412-16, that collectively increase Michigander’s access to health care by requiring health insurers to cover telemedicine without first requiring an in-person visit. Additionally, the legislation also requires that remote patient monitoring services be also covered by insurers effective immediately.
“I was pleased to sign bills today that will increase access to health care in Michigan by ensuring that telemedicine and remote patient monitoring services will be covered by insurers and Medicaid… the virtues of telemedicine are not unique to the moment, so Michiganders will benefit from reduced costs, increased accessibility, and lower rates of infectious diseases at the doctor’s office for years to come.” said Governor Whitmer.
Introduced in the House in January of this year, the bill package effectively codifies a large portion of Executive Order 2020-86, which expanded access to telemedicine services as part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically:
- HB 5412, sponsored by Representative Hank Vaupel, adds the “use of store and forward online messaging” to the definition of telemedicine in the Michigan Insurance Code.
- HB 5413, sponsored by Representative Douglas Wozniak, adds the “use of store and forward online messaging” to the definition of telemedicine in the Nonprofit Health Care Corporation Reform Act.
- HB 5414, sponsored by Representative Phil Green, adds a definition of telemedicine to the state’s Mental Health Code.
- HB 5415, sponsored by Representative Frank Liberati, amends the social welfare act to require the department to provide coverage for remote patient monitoring services through Medicaid and Healthy Michigan.
- HB 4516, sponsored by Mary Whiteford, amends the social welfare care to require Medicaid and Healthy Michigan to cover telemedicine services if the originating site is in-home or in-school.
To be considered telemedicine, a health care professional must be able to examine the patient via secure, interactive audio or visual telecommunications system, or using store and forward online messaging.
MSMS will continue to advocate for the extension of payer policies under COVID-19 that provided reimbursement on par with in-person visits and promoted convenient patient access by rescinding patient co-pays.