BOSTON — Governor Charlie Baker today signed comprehensive health care legislation that promotes key priorities initially included in the Administration’s health care legislation filed in 2019. The new law increases insurance coverage for telehealth services, expands the scope of practice for nurse practitioners, other specialized nurses, and optometrists, and takes steps to protect consumers from surprise medical bills. Recognizing the continuing impacts of COVID-19, the law also extends requirements for all insurance carriers in Massachusetts to cover COVID-19 testing and treatment.
The legislation signed today contains several priorities initially included in the Baker-Polito Administration’s health care legislation which was introduced in the fall of 2019, including requiring coverage of telehealth services and expanding the scope of practice for Advanced Practice Nurses. The legislation also extends, and in some instances codifies, critical measures taken through executive action throughout the pandemic to ensure timely access and coverage for COVID-19 treatment and services.
In addition to the provisions enacted today, the recently signed Fiscal Year 2021 budget includes several provisions that correspond to proposals initially introduced in the Administration’s health care legislation. These proposals require all Massachusetts insurers to use a standard credentialing form, and prohibit additional costs for same-day billing for multiple primary care and behavioral health visits.
The key provisions of the new law include:
- Requiring coverage of telehealth services including behavioral health care
- Expanding Scope of Practice for Advanced Practice Nurses and Optometrists
- Increasing disclosures around provider costs and network status to protect consumers from surprise medical bills
- Removing barriers to urgent care centers for MassHealth members
- Extending insurance coverage and access to COVID-19 testing and treatment
- Directing a study and report of the impacts of COVID-19 on the health care system