United States: Tennessee Enacts Telehealth Parity Legislation

Last Updated: April 25 2014

Article by Nathaniel M. Lacktman

Tennessee has enacted legislation requiring commercial insurance payors to cover telehealth services. On April 14, 2014, Governor Bill Haslam signed into law HB 1895/SB 2050.

Under the Tennessee law, a health insurance carrier:

  1. Must provide coverage under a health insurance policy or contract for covered healthcare services delivered through telehealth;
  2. Must reimburse a healthcare services provider for the diagnosis, consultation, and treatment of an insured patient for a healthcare service covered under a health insurance policy or contract that is provided through telehealth;
  3. Is prohibited from excluding from coverage a healthcare service solely because it is provided through telehealth and is not provided through an in-person encounter between a healthcare services provider and a patient; and
  4. Must reimburse healthcare services providers who are out-of-network for telehealth care services under the same reimbursement policies applicable to other out-of-network healthcare services providers.

The law will take effect October 1, 2015, and will apply to all policies, contracts, and health benefit plans issued, delivered, or renewed in the state on or after October 1, 2015.

The legislation makes Tennessee the 21st State (plus the District of Columbia) to enact a telehealth commercial payor law. Attempts to pass the legislation failed last year, but the bills were reintroduced this session and passed the House and Senate with near unanimous support from both parties.