Humana, WellCare Add Telemedicine to Medicare Advantage Plans

Nov. 9, 2016
Humana has announced plans to provide Humana Medicare beneficiaries with virtual access to doctors in Georgia and South Carolina by partnering with MDLive, a telemedicine services and software provider.

Humana has announced plans to provide Humana Medicare beneficiaries with virtual access to doctors in Georgia and South Carolina by partnering with MDLive, a telemedicine services and software provider.

Humana is including the telemedicine benefit on certain Medicare Advantage plans offered for the 2017 plan year. Members who choose plans with this benefit can access doctors through personal computers, telephone or mobile devices for a wide range of non-emergency medical conditions, such as cold and flu, headaches and skin infections, with an applicable co-pay for each visit.

This marks the first year the telemedicine benefit is offered on the Humana Regional Medicare Advantage PPO plan in Georgia and South Carolina. However, since introducing the benefit on some Medicare Advantage plans in 2016, 90 percent of Humana members who used the service and took the post-care survey ranked their experience as either good or excellent, according to a Humana press release.

A similar announcement was made about Humana and MDLive regarding New Mexico late last month.

Separately, Tampa, Fla.-based WellCare Health Plans is piloting an in-home telemonitoring program for tis Medicare Advantage members with chronic conditions in Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee. The pilot will include up to 500 members diagnosed with congestive heart failure and diabetes.

The WellCare program will deploy connected devices to monitor a member's daily vital signs such as blood pressure, pulse, weight and blood glucose levels and provide voice connectivity 24/7 to clinicians.

"Because chronic diseases can be disabling and may reduce a person's quality of life, WellCare wants to offer convenient treatment options to help our members get the care they need," Tim Mullen, WellCare's chief operating officer for Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee, said in a statement. "We are partnering with VRI, a remote monitoring company, to provide our participating members with telemonitoring, which increases access to care by enabling our network of physicians to provide greater levels of care and service to these members."

WellCare serves 98,000 Medicare Prescription Drug Plan members and 41,000 Medicare Advantage members in Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee.

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