Gov. John Carney signed HS 1 for HB 348 July 17 via livestream. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. David Bentz, D-Bear, temporarily codifies a number of consumer-friendly provisions developed during COVID-19 that can increase access to healthcare by expanding telemedicine.
Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro issued the following statement:
“In response to the unprecedented times we are facing, Delaware residents have been fortunate to have numerous consumer- and provider-friendly provisions enacted over the last several months with the leadership and the support of the governor, General Assembly, DHSS, medical provider groups, insurers and our office. Together, we have increased remote access to healthcare, ensuring that those concerned about visiting facilities in person do not need to do so during coronavirus.
“Delaware has long been a leader in telemedicine – as of December 2019, we were one of only 10 states that required private insurers to reimburse virtual visits at the same rate and with the same freedom from restrictions as in-person visits. Now, states across the country are following our lead in creating consumer- and provider-friendly laws like ours.
“While I don’t manage the professional regulation components regarding what types of telecommunication are allowable, I am so happy to see that HS 1 for HB 348 will allow for phone-based visits to further assist rural residents and those that fall into the technological divide in accessing care.
“Telemedicine isn’t a solution specific to the pandemic – it helps people in areas without local providers, those with limited access to transportation, individuals with disabilities – even parents who would have to find childcare to go to an in-person appointment. Telemedicine helps everyone, and it is here to stay. I look forward to working with the General Assembly next year to review our code and develop permanent solutions.”
The Delaware Department of Insurance will be issuing a bulletin to the industry informing providers of the continued telemedicine requirements.