telehealth pa

Pa. House’s Passage of HB 1512 Is a Victory for Patients

Harrisburg, Pa., April 10, 2024 — Today, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed House Bill (HB) 1512 by a vote of 197 to 3. The Commonwealth Foundation applauds the passage of the bill—a piece of legislation designed to bolster telemedicine access for Pennsylvanians across the state. Sponsored by state Rep. Christina D. Sappey, the bill requires health insurers to provide coverage for telemedicine services.

Commonwealth Foundation Director of Policy Analysis Elizabeth Stelle issued the following statement in response:

“Telemedicine is a vital tool for improving patients’ affordability and access to care, and this bill represents progress toward personalizing Pennsylvania’s health care system. By requiring insurers to cover telemedicine services, HB 1512 removes the uncertainty that has stunted telemedicine’s growth in the state—a reform overwhelmingly supported by Pennsylvania voters.

“According to the Commonwealth Foundation’s polling released yesterday, 89 percent of Pennsylvania voters support expanding access to telemedicine to increase affordable health care options. Another 90 percent agree that elected officials should make health care more flexible and accessible through measures like telemedicine expansion. And 85 percent believe Pennsylvania patients should be able to consult virtually with doctors licensed in other states.

“The benefits of telemedicine are clear: reduced appointment no-shows, fewer hospitalizations, and cost savings for employers and employees. Notably, Pennsylvania expanded telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“However, former Gov. Tom Wolf halted this positive momentum by vetoing legislation to require insurer reimbursement for telemedicine services. As a result, Pennsylvania became just one of seven states failing to require such coverage—leaving providers with no guarantee of reimbursement and hampering telemedicine adoption.

“Today’s vote is an important step forward,  allowing all Pennsylvanians to enjoy the advantages of virtual doctor visits regardless of their insurer or provider. We urge the Pennsylvania Senate to follow the House’s lead by passing the legislation and sending it to the governor’s desk. 

“Looking ahead, Pennsylvania should build on this progress by reestablishing telemedicine reciprocity to allow patients virtual access to doctors licensed in other states. This and other health care innovations to empower patients have the potential to drive down costs.”

View the full results from the Commonwealth Foundation’s latest Common Ground in the Commonwealth poll here


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