Blue Cross of NY reimburses online patient visits

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Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield of New York has agreed to reimburse physicians for online patient visits. Physicians will be paid $25 per web-based visit, including a $5 co-payment from the patient and a $20 payment from Empire.

The tool uses technology developed by online healthcare communication services provider RelayHealth of Emeryville, Calif. The system allows patients to ask a series of questions. Answers are then sent to the patients' physicians who reply within six to eight hours. The tool also checks members' eligibility, computes the copy and submits claims to the 4.8 million-member insurance company.

Blue Cross also offers reimbursements for web visits through RelayHealth in California, Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts and Tennessee.