UnitedHealthcare to expand telemedicine coverage for 20 million patients

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Minneapolis-based payer UnitedHealthcare has partnered with three telemedicine service providers to expand individuals' access and coverage for virtual care options.

Doctor on Demand, Optum's NowClinic and American Well are now part of UnitedHealthcare's network of care providers offering video-based consultations.

Currently, coverage for telemedicine is available to self-funded employer customers, but it will soon expand to UnitedHealthcare employer-sponsored and individual plan participants next year, according to a statement.

Individuals seeking to use telemedicine options can access the aforementioned in-network providers through UnitedHealthcare's Health4Me mobile app, and the payer plans to add network care providers in the future to increase choice and access for beneficiaries. The virtual consultations will be available to customers in 47 states and Washington D.C. According to a San Francisco Chronicle report, more than 20 million patients will have access to telehealth offerings through UnitedHealthcare.

"UnitedHealthcare is developing innovative telemedicine solutions that enable consumers, especially people who live in rural areas of the country, to access quality, cost-effective health care, whether at home or on-the-go," said Jeff Alter, CEO of UnitedHealthcare's commercial group business. "Consumers can save time and money choosing among quality physician groups from the convenience of their smartphone, tablet or home computer at any time of the day."

More articles on telemedicine:

Teladoc to file for IPO: 5 things to know
Anthem expands telemedicine offerings in Connecticut
Mount Sinai and Rush University piloting telemedicine ultrasound robots

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