Atlanta, Georgia 11/5/2009 8:30:00 PM
News / Business

Georgia Health Insurance Community Improves

"Georgia Health Insurance Plans Are Getting Better"

Understand that Health insurance in Georgia has undergone significant developments over the past ten years and one of the most significant improvements is the requirement that health insurers provide coverage for telemedicine.  This requirement has provided significant benefits to many individuals of the Georgia health insurance "rural" community, where people may have difficulty accessing quality healthcare due to long distances to clinics or facilities that provide access to specialists.


"Rural Georgia citizens typically faced distance barriers when it came to quality healthcare, but all of that changed with the advent of a statewide telemedicine program that connects doctors from 45 medical specialties with patients in rural communities in Georgia", said Morgan Moran


Telemedicine is uses modern communication and telecommunication technology to allow doctors to visit patients through video and audio feeds.  Telemedicine has created a smaller globe by allowing a single physician to treat many patients over long distances.


In Georgia, most rural residents are now within a 30-minute drive of a facility that can provide telemedicine services.  These facilities are able to connect patients with specialists who would otherwise go untreated.  The elderly in particular would often forgo visits with specialists due to long distances.


In a telemedicine environment, a patient will enter an exam room with a medical professional such as an RN or physician’s assistant.  The patient is positioned in front of video conferencing equipment that will allow the specialist to speak to them and see them, and to ultimately make a diagnosis and prescribe a treatment.

Currently, Georgia law requires that all health insurance plans issued after July 1, 2005 must cover telemedicine under the Georgia Telemedicine Act.  This was passed by the Georgia State Legislature in May of 2005.  Georgia is the first state to implement a statewide network for telemedicine services.


Telemedicine has benefits over and above the treatment of patients.  Rural doctors, physicians assistants and nursing professionals that may have to sit in on a telemedicine session will be able to learn valuable information on treatment that can be transferred to future cases.


"The technology is catching on quickly with doctors and specialists and many have voiced their preference of being able to view the crisp digital images provided by the cameras employed in the telemedicine environment.  In some cases, these can provide clearer information than an in-person examination due to the high quality, high-resolution photography", noted Moran


As the network grows and technology advances, this mode of treatment will be able to provide high quality medical care with unparalleled access and convenience to rural patients in Georgia.  While there is currently no hard evidence to suggest that telemedicine technology provides significant cost savings, it has not yet shown to be more costly either and many of the benefits will quickly offset potential increased cost from this mode of treatment.


Since Georgia group health insurance plans will cover this new technology, rural patients will benefit greatly from the ease and convenience of this service.  Significant benefits will also come from the advances that will emerge as new and innovative solutions are discovered through increased use, and as health care professionals are able to spread their knowledge base over a wider network at a faster rate.