Physicians can charge for consultations with patients in some cases, even in they occur over the phone, if the conversations are necessary to manage and coordinate patient care, according to the report.
Many insurers in the state cover these fees, and any additional costs not covered by the insurer will be passed on to the patient. However, if an insurer does not cover these costs, the cost cannot be charged to the patient. Massachusetts prohibits such "balance billing" of uncovered services, according to the report. Medicare, for example, will not pay for such charges, meaning costs for the calls cannot be passed on to Medicare patients unless the patient has previously agreed to the charges, according to the report.
Read the Patriot Ledger's report on billing for phone calls.