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The Cleveland Clinic will now charge for certain services on its MyChart portal, which the system said will be used for telemedicine and virtual messaging between patients and clinicians.
You will be billed for communications that require more clinical time and provider expertise, including communications regarding medication changes or a long-term illness, new symptoms, investigations into long-term illnesses, and requests to fill out medical forms.
Types of messages that aren’t billed include those to make appointments, get prescription refills, ask questions that lead to an appointment, and provide quick updates.
The number of messages Cleveland Clinic providers are responding to on the portal has doubled since 2019, and they respond within three days, according to the system.
“This will allow us to continue to provide the high level of care you have come to expect from the Cleveland Clinic,” the system said.
Most private insurance plans cover billed messages, but if it’s not a covered service or patients have a deductible, they could owe $33 to $50, depending on the system.
Most Medicare patients have no out-of-pocket expenses, although some have a $3 to $8 fee and those with secondary insurance owe $0.
The Cleveland Clinic isn’t the only system trying this approach. Stat News reported in January that the University of California was in San Francisco Billing for specific patient emails that required a medical examination. The system reported that patients “broadly adopted the system,” according to the report.