Expanded access to telehealth an important tool as Alaska prepares for COVID-19
JUNEAU – Today, a bill that requires state regulated private health insurers to cover telehealth services was signed into law by the governor.
Rep. Ivy Spohnholz (D-Anchorage) sponsored House Bill 29, which passed the Legislature with overwhelming support.
Access to telehealth is an important tool for healthcare workers to respond effectively to the new coronavirus, COVID-19, as it allows Alaskans to access initial screenings and routine healthcare without a risk of being exposed to the disease which was recently declared a global pandemic.
“Expanded access to telehealth makes us more prepared to deal with COVID-19,” Representative Spohnholz said. “House Bill 29’s rapid progression through the legislative process proves that Democrats and Republicans – in the House, Senate, and governor’s administration, can and will work together to pass the kind of reforms we need in the coming months.”
While Alaska is already at the forefront of providing telehealth services in urban, rural, aging, and underserved communities across our state, these successes are largely limited to people insured through Medicaid and the Tribal health system.
HB29 brings the benefits of telehealth to people covered by private plans and increases Alaskans’ access to better, faster healthcare. The new law takes effect immediately.
Office of Rep. Ivy Spohnholz