House clears Sappey bill to ensure Pennsylvanians’ access to telemedicine

HARRISBURG, April 10 – State House lawmakers today passed legislation introduced by Rep. Christina Sappey, D Chester, that would require insurers to cover telemedicine.  

“The COVID-19 pandemic brought to light just how critical telemedicine is in providing access to a variety of healthcare services, particularly in rural areas. Special needs families were able to receive therapies with consistency and many of us found mental health services available through telemedicine,” Sappey said.

"Studies show that four out of five Americans have used telemedicine at some point in their life. Data also indicates that more than half of telemedicine visits are for mental health conditions—proving how vital telemedicine is in promoting mental health.

Unfortunately, Pennsylvania is one of a handful of states that do not require health insurers to cover telemedicine. This leaves Pennsylvanians at serious risk of not receiving care at all, and that’s unacceptable.”

Under Sappey’s bill (H.B. 1512), a health insurer may not refuse to pay or reimburse a participating health care provider or a covered person for a medically necessary and appropriate covered healthcare service provided through telemedicine. Telemedicine does not include care provided solely through voicemail, email or instant messaging. 

“I am grateful to my House colleagues for voting to prioritize the health and safety of people throughout Pennsylvania by ensuring them the option of telemedicine, and I look forward to its consideration in the state Senate,” Sappey said.

The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.