Expanded Access to Telemedicine in Massachusetts

On January 1st, 2021, Governor Baker signed comprehensive health care legislation (S.B. 2984, An Act Promoting a Resilient Healthcare System that Puts Patients First), which put into law several provisions that make telehealth more accessible and affordable for people across the Commonwealth. This legislation builds off of many flexibilities established during the COVID-19 State of Emergency that increased insurance coverage for telehealth services.

Upstream has been an active member of the Massachusetts Telemedicine Coalition (tMED), which has advocated for and signed on in support of this legislation. Telemedicine is crucial to the provision of contraceptive care during COVID-19, and this legislation ensures that telemedicine remains accessible to patients across Massachusetts through the pandemic and beyond.

Key Provisions in Bill:

  • Flexible definition of telemedicine that allows for both synchronous and asynchronous technologies (includes audio-only phone calls, audio and video calls, remote patient monitoring devices).
  • Coverage parity across all payers, meaning that if an insurer covers a service in person, they must cover it via telehealth, so long as it is appropriate for telehealth
  • 2-year payment parity for primary care (includes sexual and reproductive health services) + chronic disease management services delivered via telehealth. Providers will be reimbursed at the same rate as an in-person visit for the next two years, starting in January 2021.

For more information about S.B. 2984, please see the official press release.

Back to Blog