At least 500 physicians in Massachusetts will be reimbursed for providing nonurgent patient care via the Internet, under a pilot program announced Wednesday.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts this summer will become the third Blues plan to pay physicians for online "webVisits" through the RelayHealth Web-based secure messaging system.
RelayHealth, the Emeryville, Calif., company formerly known as Healinx, has similar deals with Blue Shield of California and WellPoint Health Systems, parent company of Blue Cross of California.
RelayHealth Senior Vice President Eric Zimmerman says a minimum of 500 Massachusetts physicians that already participate in webVisits will participate in the test program.
"With the announcement today, interest is really bubbling up," says Zimmerman, adding that physicians have been calling all morning to express their willingness to participate.
Zimmerman will not disclose the payment schedule but says it is "similar to others" already working with RelayHealth.
In addition to the two California Blues plans, Farmington, Conn.-based HMO ConnectiCare and several third-party plan administrators have announced their intention to pay physicians for RelayHealth services.
"Where the market seems to be settling is in the $25-to-$30 range for reimbursements," Zimmerman says.