Doctors are finally starting to get compensated for online consultations with patients, but whether the practice will catch on is another story.
Aetna recently took a three-state pilot project nationwide, and Cigna plans to start paying for Web visits next year, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
Both companies contract with RelayHealth
Patients typically pay the same co-pay whether they go to the doctor or have a Web consult. Insurers pay doctors less for the Web consult — typically $25 to $35, according to the Inquirer.
But Lisa Rankin, a Florida doctor who has been using Web visits for a while, said they can substitute for simple questions that might otherwise be answered over the phone — and not reimbursed by insurance. “There definitely is a nice niche for it,” she told the Inquirer.