Ariz. law requires telehealth coverage

A state-ordered mandate on insurance companies was signed into law in Arizona, making healthcare more accessible and affordable in rural areas of the state.

The measure prohibits health insurers from denying payment for medical services solely because they are provided through telemedicine. If the condition or treatment is covered, the insurer has to pay whether care was delivered in person or through a televised link-up.

Sen. Gail Griffin, R-Hereford, sponsored the measure.

As approved, the law calls for all new and renewed insurance policies to include coverage for services provided through telemedicine "if the health care service would be covered were it provided through in-person consultation" beginning in 2015. The only services which have to be covered through telemedicine are trauma, burns, cardiology, infectious diseases, dermatology, mental health disorders and neurologic diseases including strokes.

The measure is crafted so that the coverage applies only in the 13 rural counties and the more remote areas of two other counties.