Michigan Medicine's approach to charging for MyChart messages

University of Michigan Health, based in Ann Arbor, has joined a number of large hospitals and health systems by charging patients for certain messages received through online patient portals, Detroit Free Presss reported Nov. 21. 

The fee is activated when responding to electronic patient portal messages takes clinicians more than five minutes and if the response is dispatched within seven days.

The University of Michigan has not specified the exact out-of-pocket expenses for this service, stating only that the charges differ. For individuals with insurance, the cost might equate to an office-visit copay. Some healthcare systems mention that consultations could be complimentary for Medicaid patients or involve out-of-pocket expenses below $20. However, individuals with high-deductible plans might incur costs of up to $50 per message, according to the news outlet. 

In January 2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services broadened telemedicine billing possibilities, coinciding with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. These billing codes enabled physicians and other qualified healthcare providers to bill patients for the time spent engaging through electronic messaging platforms, such as Epic's MyChart system, utilized by the MyUofMHealth patient portal.

Mary Masson, a spokesperson for Michigan Medicine, the academic medical center affiliated with the University of Michigan, conveyed that U-M Health initiated the billing of patients for certain portal message responses in January 2020, coinciding with the approval of the expanded CMS billing codes.

"Most commercial and government health plans now recognize these services as a covered benefit," she told the publication. "Out-of-pocket expenses for patients vary, depending on their health plan, much like they do for office visit charges."

All patients get notified before they send a message in the online portal that they could be billed for it, according to Ms. Masson. 

While certain messages may incur charges at U-M, Ms. Masson told the publication that the majority of interactions on the MyUofMHealth Patient Portal are generally free of charge.

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars