NC's House Bill 721 (on Telehealth) Will Be Bad for Your Fiscal Health

May 01, 2019

Telehealth (you may have heard of it as telemedicine, too) is the medical wave of the future. It means connecting with your doctor’s office over the internet. If you’re stuck at home for some reason but really need medical care, you may get healthier faster if you can talk to the doc right from your couch. And telemedicine can save the overall system money, too — or so goes the common wisdom. Seems like a great idea, right? Sure.

But here’s what’s not a great idea: making your healthcare more expensive by paying doctors for telehealth the same way they’d be paid for a regular visit.

That’s exactly what a bill currently making its way through the NC legislature would make insurance companies do. It’s called a mandate, and as you know if you’ve been here for a while, the Coalition is not at all a fan of bills like this.

Let us explain why you shouldn’t be, either. This bill will make insurance companies reimburse doctors for contacting you over the internet exactly the same way they’d get reimbursed for sitting with you, face to face, human to human. But there is a huge difference in overhead expenses, quality of care and time commitment between telehealth services and regular doctor services, and it should be reflected in dollars.

How can telehealth possibly save you money if it raises your insurance premiums? Ultimately, that’s what will happen if insurance companies have to pay for a cheaper service the way they’d pay for a more expensive one — over time they’ll be forced to raise your premiums to compensate. NO. Just no.

Don’t let your healthcare become more expensive, join us, because we’ll email you and tell you how to fight more bills just like this one that will raise your healthcare costs and hurt every North Carolina citizen’s fiscal health.

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