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Searching 2021-2022 Session

The Vermont Statutes Online

 

Title 8 : Banking and Insurance

Chapter 107 : HEALTH INSURANCE

Subchapter 014 : TELEHEALTH

(Cite as: 8 V.S.A. § 4100k)
  • § 4100k. Coverage of health care services delivered through telemedicine and by store-and-forward means

    (a)(1) All health insurance plans in this State shall provide coverage for health care services and dental services delivered through telemedicine by a health care provider at a distant site to a patient at an originating site to the same extent that the plan would cover the services if they were provided through in-person consultation.

    [ Subdivision (a)(2) repealed effective January 1, 2026.]

    (2)(A) A health insurance plan shall provide the same reimbursement rate for services billed using equivalent procedure codes and modifiers, subject to the terms of the health insurance plan and provider contract, regardless of whether the service was provided through an in-person visit with the health care provider or through telemedicine.

    (B) The provisions of subdivision (A) of this subdivision (2) shall not apply:

    (i) to services provided pursuant to the health insurance plan's contract with a third-party telemedicine vendor to provide health care or dental services; or

    (ii) in the event that a health insurer and health care provider enter into a value-based contract for health care services that include care delivered through telemedicine or by store-and-forward means.

    (b) A health insurance plan may charge a deductible, co-payment, or coinsurance for a health care service or dental service provided through telemedicine as long as it does not exceed the deductible, co-payment, or coinsurance applicable to an in-person consultation.

    (c) A health insurance plan may limit coverage to health care providers in the plan's network. A health insurance plan shall not impose limitations on the number of telemedicine consultations a covered person may receive that exceed limitations otherwise placed on in-person covered services.

    (d) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit a health insurance plan from providing coverage for only those services that are medically necessary and are clinically appropriate for delivery through telemedicine, subject to the terms and conditions of the covered person's policy.

    (e)(1) A health insurance plan shall reimburse for health care services and dental services delivered by store-and-forward means.

    (2) A health insurance plan shall not impose more than one cost-sharing requirement on a patient for receipt of health care services or dental services delivered by store-and-forward means. If the services would require cost sharing under the terms of the patient's health insurance plan, the plan may impose the cost sharing requirement on the services of the originating site health care provider or of the distant site health care provider, but not both.

    (f) A health insurer shall not construe a patient's receipt of services delivered through telemedicine or by store-and-forward means as limiting in any way the patient's ability to receive additional covered in-person services from the same or a different health care provider for diagnosis or treatment of the same condition.

    (g) Nothing in this section shall be construed to require a health insurance plan to reimburse the distant site health care provider if the distant site health care provider has insufficient information to render an opinion.

    (h) In order to facilitate the use of telemedicine in treating substance use disorder, when the originating site is a health care facility, health insurers and the Department of Vermont Health Access shall ensure that the health care provider at the distant site and the health care facility at the originating site are both reimbursed for the services rendered, unless the health care providers at both the distant and originating sites are employed by the same entity.

    (i) As used in this subchapter:

    (1) "Distant site" means the location of the health care provider delivering services through telemedicine at the time the services are provided.

    (2) "Health insurance plan" means any health insurance policy or health benefit plan offered by a health insurer, as defined in 18 V.S.A. § 9402; a stand-alone dental plan or policy or other dental insurance plan offered by a dental insurer; and Medicaid and any other public health care assistance program offered or administered by the State or by any subdivision or instrumentality of the State. The term does not include policies or plans providing coverage for a specified disease or other limited benefit coverage.

    (3) "Health care facility" shall have the same meaning as in 18 V.S.A. § 9402.

    (4) "Health care provider" means a person, partnership, or corporation, other than a facility or institution, that is licensed, certified, or otherwise authorized by law to provide professional health care services, including dental services, in this State to an individual during that individual's medical care, treatment, or confinement.

    (5) "Originating site" means the location of the patient, whether or not accompanied by a health care provider, at the time services are provided by a health care provider through telemedicine, including a health care provider's office, a hospital, or a health care facility, or the patient's home or another nonmedical environment such as a school-based health center, a university-based health center, or the patient's workplace.

    (6) "Store and forward" means an asynchronous transmission of medical information, such as one or more video clips, audio clips, still images, x-rays, magnetic resonance imaging scans, electrocardiograms, electroencephalograms, or laboratory results, sent over a secure connection that complies with the requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, Pub. L. No. 104-191 to be reviewed at a later date by a health care provider at a distant site who is trained in the relevant specialty. In store and forward, the health care provider at the distant site reviews the medical information without the patient present in real time and communicates a care plan or treatment recommendation back to the patient or referring provider, or both.

    (7) "Telemedicine" means the delivery of health care services, including dental services, such as diagnosis, consultation, or treatment through the use of live interactive audio and video over a secure connection that complies with the requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, Pub. L. No. 104-191. (Added 2011, No. 107 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2012; amended 2013, No. 79, § 15, eff. Jan. 1, 2014; 2015, No. 173 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 2017, No. 64, § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2017; 2019, No. 91 (Adj. Sess.), § 24, eff. March 30, 2020; 2019, No. 91 (Adj. Sess.), § 27, eff. Jan. 1, 2026; 2021, No. 6, § 9, eff. March 29, 2021.)