In California, your telehealth services are covered in much the same way as in-person services. Both Medi-Cal and private payer insurance cover all telemedicine services. Parity laws specify that telehealth is reimbursed at the same rate as in-person services.
California is a leader in telehealth policy. It was one of the first states to pass telehealth legislation in 1996 and continues to drive sound policy to better connect health care providers with their patients.
California’s Medicaid program covers live video telemedicine and store-and-forward services for teledermatology, teledentistry, and teleophthalmology.
Medi-Cal does limit which healthcare providers can get reimbursed for telemedicine. Here’s who qualifies:
- Physician assistants
- Nurse practitioners
- Clinical nurse specialists
- Registered dietitians or nutrition professionals
- Nurse midwives
- Certified registered nurse anesthetists
- Clinical psychologists
- Clinical social workers
- Speech-language pathologists
- OTs and PTs
Telehealth Advancement Act
Authored by Assemblyman Dan Logue (R-Lake Wildwood), the Telehealth Advancement Act of 2011 (AB 415) became law on January 1, 2012. AB 415 updated legal definitions of telehealth, streamlined medical approval processes for telehealth-delivered services, and broadened the types of allowed telehealth-delivered services.
When you require health care services, it’s important to choose a qualified medical professional who fits your coverage needs and meets your expectations. Here’s what to weigh when you’re selecting an online doctor for telehealth services:
- Research credentials: To ensure your doctor is qualified, a good first step is to check their certification. One simple and trustworthy tool is certificationmatters.org, which allows you to search any doctor by name and address. You can check the doctor’s website or call their office and ask for a copy of their certification. Visit California’s Medical Board to verify state licenses.
- Determine your cost: Luckily, insurance coverage is relatively straightforward in California, as state parity laws specify that telehealth services are covered at the same rate as in-person health services. Keep in mind, doctors have different payment structures, and it’s important to understand the fine print before setting your first appointment. For example, some doctors only charge a one-time fee for your first consultation, while others charge a subscription fee for long-term care. If you’re not sure, pay attention to terms like “annual charge” and “monthly charge.”
- Read online doctor reviews: There are plenty of online resources available to help you determine if a doctor is the right fit for you. When reading, pay close attention to the most important qualities to you, such as telemedicine services or specialization in a particular branch of medicine. Be sure to consult multiple sources to get a well-rounded impression.
CCHP convenes and leads a group of over 100 state and national entities dedicated to advancing California’s leadership in telehealth policy. The Coalition is made up of consumer groups, medical systems, payers, providers, and technology representatives.
California Telemedicine Policy, Simplified.
With its first telemedicine parity laws passed in 1996, California has a long history in telemedicine reimbursement and was one of the first states to acknowledge the value of telemedicine. In fact, the Center for Connected Health Policy has a dedicated page for California.
Like many other U.S. states, California recognizes the importance of telemedicine in improving healthcare access for patients challenged by distance or mobility. California has been actively pursuing legislation to expand telemedicine access, from developing guidelines for using telehealth in schools to including Associate Marriage and Family Therapists as appropriate telehealth providers.