Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Bill Eliminates Co-Payments

On May 9, 2011, Senators Mark Begich (Alaska), Chuck Grassley (Iowa), and Jon Tester (Montana) reintroduced the “Veterans Telehealth Act of 2011” to waive co-payments for telehealth and telemedicine visits for veterans. The bill was originally introduced one year ago and in August 2011, the legislation passed the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee but did not receive consideration by the full Senate. Now the bill is to be directed back to the Veterans Affairs Committee.

The Veterans Health Administration Telemedicine program currently provides 42,000 veterans with in-home care. This includes an estimated 220 Alaska veterans who face a co-payment of up to $50 per telehealth appointment.

“For those living in rural Alaska, providing in-home care or care in a local clinic makes healthcare more affordable and relieves the stress of having to travel to a major city,” Begich said. “This legislation is a simple solution that saves money and actually improves the quality of services delivered by the government.”

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