On April 18, 2019, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed a new law expanding insurance coverage for telehealth services, including asynchronous telemedicine and remote patient monitoring. The Arizona Legislature passed, nearly unanimously (79-1), SB 1089, ensuring that commercial health plans will cover medical services delivered in-person or via telemedicine. The law becomes effective January 1, 2021 and will benefit patients by increasing access and availability to healthcare services, and catalyze the growth of telehealth technologies throughout Arizona.
Note: attorneys in Foley’s Telemedicine & Digital Health Industry Team assisted in drafting the Arizona law.
Arizona’s prior telehealth coverage law contained a number of restrictions that confused practitioners and ultimately prevented patients from enjoying meaningful insurance coverage of services delivered via telehealth. Accordingly, Arizona revisited the statute and the new legislation amended the law to align with best practices from other states. A number of other state legislatures are considering similar amendments to their current telehealth coverage laws in order to close these perceived loopholes and give patients and healthcare providers clarity on what medical services are (and are not) covered when delivered via telehealth.
SB 1089 amends Arizona’s telehealth commercial insurance coverage laws (Ariz. Stat. §§ 20-841.09, 20-1057.13, 20-1376.05, 20-1406.05) to state that a health plan may not limit or deny coverage of health care services delivered via telemedicine and may apply only the same limits or exclusions on services delivered via telemedicine that are applicable to an in-person consultation for the same service.
Other notable changes in the law are:
With the enactment of the new Arizona law, approximately 36 states plus D.C. have laws requiring commercial health insurance plans to cover telehealth services, and approximately ten of those states will have payment parity language. We will continue to monitor for any legislative changes that affect or improve telemedicine opportunities.
For more information on telemedicine, telehealth, virtual care, remote patient monitoring, digital health, and other health innovations, including the team, publications, and representative experience, visit Foley’s Telemedicine & Digital Health Industry Team.