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Statutes Text

Article - Insurance




§15–139.

    (a)    (1)    In this section, “telehealth” means, as it relates to the delivery of health care services, the use of interactive audio, video, or other telecommunications or electronic technology by a licensed health care provider to deliver a health care service within the scope of practice of the health care provider at a location other than the location of the patient.

        (2)    “Telehealth” includes from July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2023, both inclusive, an audio–only telephone conversation between a health care provider and a patient that results in the delivery of a billable, covered health care service.

        (3)    “Telehealth” does not include:

            (i)    except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, an audio–only telephone conversation between a health care provider and a patient;

            (ii)    an electronic mail message between a health care provider and a patient; or

            (iii)    a facsimile transmission between a health care provider and a patient.

    (b)    This section applies to:

        (1)    insurers and nonprofit health service plans that provide hospital, medical, or surgical benefits to individuals or groups on an expense–incurred basis under health insurance policies or contracts that are issued or delivered in the State; and

        (2)    health maintenance organizations that provide hospital, medical, or surgical benefits to individuals or groups under contracts that are issued or delivered in the State.

    (c)    (1)    An entity subject to this section:

            (i)    shall provide coverage under a health insurance policy or contract for health care services appropriately delivered through telehealth regardless of the location of the patient at the time the telehealth services are provided;

            (ii)    may not exclude from coverage a health care service solely because it is provided through telehealth and is not provided through an in–person consultation or contact between a health care provider and a patient; and

            (iii)    may not exclude from coverage or deny coverage for a behavioral health care service that is a covered benefit under a health insurance policy or contract when provided in person solely because the behavioral health care service may also be provided through a covered telehealth benefit.

        (2)    The health care services appropriately delivered through telehealth shall include counseling and treatment for substance use disorders and mental health conditions.

    (d)    (1)    Subject to paragraph (2) of this subsection, an entity subject to this section:

            (i)    shall reimburse a health care provider for the diagnosis, consultation, and treatment of an insured patient for a health care service covered under a health insurance policy or contract that can be appropriately provided through telehealth;

            (ii)    is not required to:

                1.    reimburse a health care provider for a health care service delivered in person or through telehealth that is not a covered benefit under the health insurance policy or contract; or

                2.    reimburse a health care provider who is not a covered provider under the health insurance policy or contract; and

            (iii)    1.    may impose a deductible, copayment, or coinsurance amount on benefits for health care services that are delivered either through an in–person consultation or through telehealth;

                2.    may impose an annual dollar maximum as permitted by federal law; and

                3.    may not impose a lifetime dollar maximum.

        (2)    (i)    From July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2023, both inclusive, when a health care service is appropriately provided through telehealth, an entity subject to this section shall provide reimbursement in accordance with paragraph (1)(i) of this subsection on the same basis and at the same rate as if the health care service were delivered by the health care provider in person.

            (ii)    The reimbursement required under subparagraph (i) of this paragraph does not include:

                1.    clinic facility fees unless the health care service is provided by a health care provider not authorized to bill a professional fee separately for the health care service; or

                2.    any room and board fees.

            (iii)    This paragraph may not be construed to supersede the authority of the Health Services Cost Review Commission to set the appropriate rates for hospitals, including setting the hospital facility fee for hospital–provided telehealth.

    (e)    Subject to subsection (d)(1)(ii) of this section, an entity subject to this section may not impose as a condition of reimbursement of a covered health care service delivered through telehealth that the health care service be provided by a third–party vendor designated by the entity.

    (f)    An entity subject to this section may undertake utilization review, including preauthorization, to determine the appropriateness of any health care service whether the service is delivered through an in–person consultation or through telehealth if the appropriateness of the health care service is determined in the same manner.

    (g)    A health insurance policy or contract may not distinguish between patients in rural or urban locations in providing coverage under the policy or contract for health care services delivered through telehealth.

    (h)    A decision by an entity subject to this section not to provide coverage for telehealth in accordance with this section constitutes an adverse decision, as defined in § 15–10A–01 of this title, if the decision is based on a finding that telehealth is not medically necessary, appropriate, or efficient.



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