I. What Are Hawaii Telemedicine Policies?

Hawaiian telemedicine policies support most forms of remote consulting services, including:

  • Live video consultations
  • Store-and-forward consultations
  • Remote monitoring

A particular requirement is that there must be an established provider-patient relationship. This may be accomplished through person-to-person consultation or by means of a telehealth consultation. Hawaiian law provides for reimbursement of telemedicine consultations.

Medicaid Private payers Parity
Reimbursement for: All telehealth services Reimbursement for: All telehealth services Reimbursed at the same rate as in-person services

Parity Laws  

Hawaiian parity laws, enacted in 2016, require private insurers to cover telehealth services at the same rate as conventional, face-to-face services. Insurers may not insist on a prior or current in-person consultation as a requirement for payment.

Your health insurer is obliged to provide you with a document detailing all telehealth benefits, including information on copayments and deductibles. If your insurer requires you use a specified network of providers, there must be sufficient practitioners readily available. There should be no unreasonable delay or travel expected of you.

Hawaiian Medicaid covers live video and store-and-forward consultations and remote patient monitoring services. Your provider must be licensed to practice in the state. At one time, you could only access telehealth services in specific areas like:

  • A county outside a metropolitan area
  • A designated rural health professional shortage area
  • A federally qualified health center

But in 2020, the state announced the intention to move away from these restrictions, and it’s now possible to participate in a telehealth consultation from your own home or other convenient location.

Eligible Health Care Providers 

Health care providers must have a license to practice in Hawaii, but they need not be physically resident in the state. Hawaii is not a member of the Interstate Licensure Compact, so physicians wishing to practice in Hawaii must separately register in Hawaii. State regulations don’t limit the types of services offered through telehealth — only that services must be appropriate to a telehealth care setting. So, for example, you couldn’t use telehealth for lab work, X-rays, or medical procedures.

You are covered for the following medical professionals by Hawaiian Medicaid: 

  • Physicians
  • Physician assistants
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Nurse midwives
  • Clinical nurse specialists
  • Certified registered nurse anesthetists
  • Clinical psychologists
  • Clinical social workers
  • Registered dietitians and nutrition professionals.
  • Home health services
  • Dentistry

Online Prescriptions  

Hawaiian regulations require that there be a prior doctor-patient relationship before the doctor can prescribe medication. This specifically means you must have had a recent person-to-person consultation with your doctor. The only exception is if your physician refers you to another specialist. In this instance, the specialist does not have to physically see you, provided you have been seen by your referring doctor. In all cases, prescribing physicians must discuss diagnosis and treatment options with you and ensure appropriate follow-up care is available.

II. Find an Online Doctor in Hawaii

Hawaii has a well-established medical infrastructure managed by the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation, a state-funded hospital and clinic service. Additionally, there are numerous rural health clinics where you can arrange a telehealth appointment. Another useful resource is the Hawaiian Primary Care Association. Possibly the first step is to see if your existing primary health care practitioner offers a telehealth service. Alternatively, if you’re looking for a new doctor, search using services like the Healthgrades Hawaiian index. In any event, it’s essential to research your telehealth doctor and find out what you’ll be expected to pay for a telehealth consultation.

  • Research credentials: You’ll want to check if the physician is registered in the State of Hawaii by searching for their license on the Hawaiian Medical Board. You can also see if there are any complaints registered against the physician. Another useful resource is org. Simply enter the doctor’s name and state to learn more about their specialties.
  • Determine your cost: Although health insurers are obliged to pay for telehealth services in Hawaii, it’s important to check exactly what they will pay and what your copayment will be. Verify the treatment you’re getting is covered by your policy. Check telehealth service provider’s conditions of payment. In some instances, there may be additional costs like a subscription or service fee.
  • Read online doctor reviews: Learn what other patients have said by researching online reviews. You often find these reviews on clinic and health center websites. Alternatively, search for online doctor reviews on the web and social media.

III. Research Our Hawaii Telemedicine Sources

Hawaiian telehealth laws are evolving rapidly as the state seeks to extend these services to those in underserved rural areas. Keep up with these changes by visiting these websites.