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NJDOBI Mandates Insurance Carriers to Reimburse Providers for Telemedicine and Telehealth Encounters During State of Emergency and Public Health Emergency

March 23, 2020 | Comments Off on NJDOBI Mandates Insurance Carriers to Reimburse Providers for Telemedicine and Telehealth Encounters During State of Emergency and Public Health Emergency
Posted by Anjali Baxi

NJDOBI issued Bulletin 20-07 to mandate insurance carriers to reimburse providers for telemedicine and telehealth encounters.  This applies to: (1) all health insurance companies; all HMOs; all health service corporations and any other entity issuing health benefits plans in New Jersey.

The mandate requires the insurance carriers to do the following:

  1. Review their telemedicine and telehealth networks for adequacy and grant any requested in-plan exception for individuals to access out of health telehealth providers if network providers are unavailable.
  2. Encourage their network providers to utilize telemedicine or telehealth services wherever possible and clinically appropriate in order to minimize exposure of provider staff and other patients to those who may have the COVID-19 virus
  3. Update their policies to include reimbursement for telehealth services that are provided by a provider in any manner that is practicable, including, if appropriate, and clinically appropriate, by telephone.   The Bulletin suggests that this be done on the carrier’s website.  This would include instruction on the use of telephone-only communications to establish a physician-patient relationship and the expanded use of telehealth for the diagnosis, treatment, ordering of tests, and prescribing for all conditions. Carriers are required to update telehealth policies to include telephone only services within the definition of telehealth.
  4. Reimburse providers that deliver covered services to members via telemedicine or telehealth. Carriers may establish requirements for such telemedicine and/or telehealth services, and guidance issued by the Department, including documentation and recordkeeping, but such requirements may not be more restrictive than those for in-person services. Carriers are not permitted to impose any specific requirements on the technologies used to deliver telemedicine and/or telehealth services (including any limitations on audio-only or live video technologies) during the state of emergency and public health emergency declared pursuant to EO 103.
  5. Ensure that the rates of payment to in-network providers for services delivered via telemedicine or telehealth are not lower than the rates of payment established by the carrier for services delivered via traditional (i.e., in-person) methods, and carriers must notify providers of any instructions that are necessary to facilitate billing for such telehealth services.
  6. May not impose any restriction on the reimbursement for telehealth or telemedicine that requires that the provider who is delivering the services be licensed in a particular state, so long as the provider is in compliance with P.L. 2020, c.3 and c.4 and this guidance.
  7. May not impose prior authorization requirements on medically-necessary treatment that is delivered via telemedicine or telehealth.


See the entire text of Bulletin 20-07.


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