Telemedicine Reimbursement

On March 27, 2020, the Department of Insurance issued Bulletin No. 13-2020, regarding reimbursement for telemedicine. The bulletin was directed at all licensed insurers, health maintenance organizations, and other interested parties in the state.

As a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the governor had declared a public health emergency on March 11, 2020. Following the declaration, in Executive Order 20-05, the governor encouraged treatment and communication by technology. Specifically, for the duration of the emergency, the governor called for the leveraging of telehealth to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, and suspended existing requirements for in-person physician encounters with patients to establish a professional relationship. The prior order also suspended certain specialized licensing requirements to enable mental health professionals to provide counseling to state residents through available technology.

Bulletin 13-2020 serves to remind carriers offering health insurance plans, including short-term limited-duration insurance plans regulated by the Department, that they must comply with the reimbursement requirements for health care services provided through telemedicine found in Ark. Code Ann. § 23-79-1602(c) and (d). These sections include provisions requiring reimbursement for health care services through telemedicine on the same basis as the health benefit plan provides coverage for the same health care services provided by the physician in person.

The memo is directed at insurers, but employers should be aware of this communication.

Bulletin No. 13-2020 »