BOSTON (6/26/2020) – Senator Cindy Creem voted in support of legislation passed by the Massachusetts State Senate on Thursday to extend insurance coverage for telehealth services for two years, require doctors to inform patients before referring them to an out-of-network specialist and create regulations expanding the scope of practice for certain medical professionals.
Two key provisions of the bill, known as the Patients First Act, requires insurance carriers, including MassHealth, to cover telehealth services in any case where the same in-person service would be covered, and requires reimbursement rates to match in-person services over the next two years. The bill also eliminates “surprise billing,” the unfair practice of charging patients who are unaware they received health care services outside of their insurance network for costs that insurance carriers refuse to pay.
“I am delighted that this bill expands access to healthcare through several channels,” said Senate Majority Leader Cindy Creem (D. Newton). “Healthcare is a human right and we should be doing everything we can to facilitate access to care.”
The legislation now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.