What 3 health systems are charging for MyChart messages

A growing number of health systems are starting to charge patients for asking for their physicians' advice through online patient portals, such as MyChart. Here are some hospitals and health systems partaking in the trend:

  1. Seattle-based UW Medicine said it plans to start charging for MyChart messages on June 27. Patients will be charged for new issues (medications, symptoms, chronic disease changes, referrals) or requests to fill out medical forms. Messages, which will be billed in 10-minute increments, will range in cost from $7 to $28 with Medicaid, $14 to $52 with Medicare and $27 to $98 for people with no insurance.

  2. Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Novant Health began charging for patient portal messages after receiving an influx of them in recent years. The health system said it has billed for less than 1 percent of its MyChart messages since the change went into effect in July, for an average charge of $10. The fees apply only to a new healthcare complaint or a problem that has not been discussed recently.

  3. Cleveland Clinic began billing patients for electronic messages through Epic's MyChart patient portal in November, but has said less than 1 percent of the 110,000 weekly emails its providers received have been billed. According to Cleveland Clinic, Medicaid patients are not charged and Medicare beneficiaries without a supplemental health plan would owe between $3 and $8. The system's maximum charge, affecting those with high deductibles on private insurance plans or without coverage, would be $33 to $50 for each exchange.

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