State House News – Telehealth language in a new Senate bill teed up for debate next week has caught the eye of insurance carriers.

State senators last week introduced health care legislation that includes measures around telehealth, out-of-network billing, and providers’ scope of practice. The bill (S 2769) would require insurers to reimburse for telehealth at the same rate as in-person services over the next two years, and the Health Policy Commission, by the end of 2022, would have to issue recommendations on “the appropriate relationship” between telehealth and in-person reimbursement rates.

Lora Pellegrini, president of the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans, said telehealth has played a key role during the COVID-19 pandemic “but we must build on its promise of providing cost-savings for employers and consumers in the future.

“Moving forward, it is vital that the state thoughtfully monitor the provision of in-person care and telehealth coverage to determine when we can remove statutorily mandated payments in order to build on telehealth’s promise of providing cost-savings for employers and consumers, ensuring access to high-quality care for members that improves their patient experience and is appropriate for delivery via telehealth technologies,” she said in a statement.

The group Health Care for All, which backs the bill as a whole, said it is “particularly supportive of extending telehealth provisions that were included in the Governor’s Executive Order during the emergency.”

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