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Big insurer to include phone and video consults in network

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As insurers strive  to keep operating profits high, some are making it easier for patients to consult physicians by smartphone. This would presumably keep more patients out of the hospital.Consider UnitedHealthCare,  the huge Minneapolis-based company, which plans to include phone or video consults in its coverage network. Boston-based American Well, a telemedicine service,  is one of three providers approved for UHC’s system, reports The Boston Globe.The Globe reports that “UHC will also support visits through Doctor on Demand, based in San Francisco, and NowClinic, a mobile service offered by Minnesota-based Optum. At launch, UHC will only accept claims from people who pay for their own insurance, but the insurer says it intends to include health plans funded by employers next year.”

Thus the push to keep outpatients from becoming inpatients continues.



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