Govenor Whitmer expands telemedicine to Michiganders

Jessica LaRoy, Cheif Editor

On March 12, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced that her administration will expand access to telemedicine for Michiganders. Michigan will immediately allow Medicaid beneficiaries to receive telemedicine service in their home while the state battles the spread of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Telehealth is the use of digital information and communication technologies, such as computers and mobile devices, to access health care services remotely. Telehealth can be used from home or by doctors to improve or support health care services ( Telehealth has been around for about 40 years, but it has been exponentially growing in the last five years.

Insurance plans such as Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Blue Care Network of Michigan, Priority Health, Meridian, CVS Health, McLaren, and Health Alliance Plan announced that they plan to cover and encourage the use of virtual care and telehealth. They also will waive cost-sharing for COVID-19 testing.

Telemedicine services cover all domains including subsequent hospital care, behavioral health treatment, psychiatric diagnostic procedures, inpatient/outpatient consults and services, and many more.

Governor Whitmer and Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) Director Anita Fox called on the Trump Administration to allow a special enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act to allow more U.S. citizens to sign up for coverage. This allows more Americans to have access to telemedicine to help alter the spread of COVID-19.

“During this crisis, we must do everything we can to ensure access to quality, affordable health care. That’s why we’re calling on the president to allow for a special enrollment period, and why we’re taking action today in Michigan to expand opportunities for safe, quality care through telemedicine,” said Whitmer. “We will continue to work with our partners across both state and federal government, as well as those in the private sector, to ensure Michiganders everywhere can access the care they need,” (

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Director Robert Gordon said the expansion is about keeping the people of Michigan safe and combating the spread of COVID-19.

“When we expand access through telemedicine, we can help reduce the number of Michiganders who need to visit their health care provider in person, which will help slow the spread of disease and ensure our health facilities have adequate staff and resources to care for those who are sick,” said Gordon (