Iagnosis, parent company of virtual visit skin care company DermatologistOnCall, announced that starting in 2015, health insurance company Highmark will cover web-based dermatologist visits for its commercial members in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Delaware.
"We need to make sure our members get the right care in the right setting, and telemedicine is a key tool to help make that setting more patient-centered," Highmark Senior Vice President and CMO Donald R. Fischer said in a statement. "Telemedicine is a resource that is critical to transforming the delivery of health care. It ensures faster access to high-quality health care while also helping to control costs."
DermatologistOnCall offers online, tablet, or smartphone-based consultations, although Highmark seems to only cover the web version. Patients who want to use the service first fill out a questionnaire that verifies whether or not their issue is appropriate for online care. Once he or she is confirmed as a viable patient, they set up a profile with demographic info and other basic facts.
After that, patients are matched with a doctor so that they can send pictures of the skin condition that needs treatment. Users without coverage pay $59 per consult -- the price dropped from $65 sometime this summer -- and the information is sent to the dermatologist. The average time patients wait to get a response is 10 hours. The max time users wait is 3.5 days. After the diagnosis, patients can message back and forth with the dermatologist for 30 days.
Dermatologists in the company's network can address over 3,000 skin conditions, according to the company.
In May, Iagnosis Chief Strategy Officer and cofounder Larry Eakin told MobiHealthNews that DermatologistOnCall plans to develop more channel partners across what he calls the “skincare value chain” too, with insurers, hospital systems, pharamacy retailers, large dermatology groups, and large pharmaceutical companies.
This isn't the first digital health service that Highmark has covered. In 2012, Highmark began covering primary care sick visits through Teladoc. That same year Highmark began promoting DermatologistOnCall to its members in the three states as an out-of-pocket expense.