Telemedicine breaking through with payers? (US)

Cigna, the tenth largest insurer in the US, jumped this week on the virtual consult wagon train with earlier pioneers UnitedHealthcare (#1), WellPoint (#2) and Aetna (#5).  Cigna is partnering with MDLive to offer online video, telephone or e-mail consultations with doctors for non-urgent care as an option for self-insured employers nationwide starting 1 July for plans effective 1 January 2014. MDLive will send, via Cigna, summaries of telehealth visits to patients’ physicians. Cigna’s present telemedicine partner, McKesson’s RelayHealth, will remain for virtual consults with the patient’s own physician. Among payers, the widest coverage appears to be UnitedHealthcare with NowClinic in 22 states; WellPoint offers American Well only in California and Ohio while Aetna is piloting with Teladoc in Texas and Florida. (Just in time to buzz through ATA 2013!) InformationWeek Healthcare

ATA 2013 announces three ‘practical’ keynotes

The American Telemedicine Association’s 2013 meeting, 5-7 May in Austin, Texas has three keynote speakers, and not a buzzy one among them. The large provider:  Lynn Britton, President & CEO, Mercy, a 31 hospital healthcare system in the Midwest and named 2012 “Most Wired” healthcare organization by the American Hospital Organization. The tech innovator: Jeffrey Henley, Chairman, Oracle Corporation. The payer side: Reed Tuckson, MD, the immediate past Chief of Medical Affairs for UnitedHealth, the largest US private insurer. Release. More information on ATA 2013. If you are attending ATA, and would like to contribute a summary of what you find interesting or your general observations (including video and photos), please email Editor Donna or comment below.