Humana to offer MDLive telemedicine to some Medicare Advantage members

By Jonah Comstock

After offering the service to a few Medicare Advantage members in Arizona last year, Humana is expanding a collaboration with MDLive to make telemedicine services available to Medicare beneficiaries in select counties in Georgia and South Carolina.

“With on-demand services playing a big role in people’s lives today, it’s important that we offer our members access to on-demand care to help reduce some of the primary barriers that prevent people from getting medical care,” Humana’s Regional Medicare President Jim Laughlin said in a statement. “Video and telephonic visits allow our members to receive health care when and where they need it so we can help them achieve their optimal health. For Medicare beneficiaries, getting care when it’s needed may be able to help reduce hospitalizations and emergency room visits.”

Telemedicine will be available as a benefit to some Medicare Advantage plans in 2017. The benefit includes mobile visits via the web or mobile devices or telephone visits for non-emergency conditions including cold and flu, headaches and skin infections. Members will only have to pay a co-pay, just as they would for an in-person visit. Assuming the member grants permission, the MDLive physician will have access to the patient's records and will be able to add notes from the virtual visit to the patient's record.

Humana introduced the service last year in Maricopa, Pinal Pima, La Paz, Maricopa, Mohave, Yavapai counties in Arizona. According to the company, 90 percent of Humana members who used the service in 2016 and took the post-care survey ranked their experience as either good or excellent.

MDLive has worked with a number of other payers including Cigna and Independence Blue Cross. They also partner with Walgreens to offer telemedicine services through the Walgreens app.