Two telehealth bills introduced in Kansas House

Kansas flagTwo pieces of telehealth legislation were introduced to the Kansas House of Representatives over the past two weeks, House Bill 2206 and House Bill 2254.

HB 2206 is a parity bill that requires individual and group health insurance policies, along with KanCare (Medicaid), to provide coverage and payment for telehealth services at the same rate as services provided in-person. It also prevents applying excessive costs for telehealth services, such as deductibles or copayments, that would not be included for standard in-person care. HB 2206 keeps insurance companies and KanCare from denying eligibility, imposing maximum coverage exclusive to telehealth or dropping coverage for a service exclusively because it is provided through telemedicine. Currently, Kansas law does not mandate private insurance companies to cover telemedicine services, although the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) reports that 32 other states have some form of private payer policy. Also, KanCare doesn’t reimburse for remote monitoring technologies, only the direct service between the physician and their patient.

HB 2254 allows physicians to establish a physician-patient relationship with those who receive telehealth services through “consultation with another physician who has an established relationship with the patient and an agreement to participate in the patient’s care,” or “a telehealth encounter, if the standard of care does not require an in-person encounter.” These are in addition to the current in-person medical interview and physical examination requirement. However, this legislation is limited to physicians, and does not include nurses and other practitioners.

Both HB 2254 and HB 2206 have upcoming hearings in the Committee on Health and Human Services.

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