I. What Are Iowa Telemedicine Policies?

Iowa has adopted legislation that ensures Medicaid and private insurers offer the same reimbursement for services provided remotely as they would for in-person appointments, although you may not be able to access all services remotely.

Medicaid Private payers Parity
Reimbursement for: Live video. Store-and-forward and remote monitoring services may be excluded. Reimbursement for: Telehealth services that can provide the same quality of care as an in-person appointment. Reimbursement levels are equal, regardless of distance when providers meet quality standards.

Parity Laws

In 2015, Iowa passed parity laws for Medicaid reimbursements to ensure health care providers receive equal compensation for telehealth services and in-person appointments. As long as the service is of comparable quality, doctors and other allied health professionals receive the same reimbursement levels, regardless of your physical location during the appointment. Telehealth services must be offered through secure platforms to meet HIPAA compliance regulations and keep your health care information secure and private. Parity laws don’t require private insurance companies to offer all services via telehealth, so check with your insurance company to determine whether you can use telehealth services and what the copay might be.

Iowa is part of several multistate compacts, including the Nurse Licensure Compact, Physical Therapy Compact and Interstate Medical Licensure Compact. As a member of these organizations, Iowa allows out-of-state health care providers to serve in the state, which may help reduce your out-of-pocket costs for telehealth services.

Eligible Health Care Providers

Iowa doesn’t limit telehealth to a list of specialties. In general, any health care service covered by insurance that can be offered via telehealth without sacrificing the quality of care is available to you. Some examples of remote options for care include:

  • Physicians
  • Nurse Practitioners
  • Physician Assistants
  • Nurse-Midwives
  • RN Anesthetists
  • Psychologists
  • Social Workers
  • Federally Qualified Health Centers
  • Telemental Health Service Providers
    • Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists
    • Licensed Mental Health Counselors
    • Alcohol and Drug Counselors

Online Prescriptions

Your doctor must first establish a relationship with you before they can write any new prescriptions via a remote platform. A good doctor-patient relationship often starts with a conversation about your medical history and a physical exam. While the format of the exam may change to accommodate a remote platform, telehealth doctors can often meet the requirements to write you a prescription. If you have children, you’ll need to sign off on any prescriptions offered through a behavioral health specialist, such as a psychologist.

II. Find an Online Doctor in Iowa

When possible, you may want to ask your doctor whether they offer telehealth options for remote appointments. If they don’t or you need a new doctor and would like to explore telehealth options, it’s important to do some research before selecting a service provider.

  • Research credentials: While most telehealth providers advertise licensed doctors or nurse practitioners as the person providing health care, it is always a good idea to verify credentials prior to making an appointment. Iowa’s Board of Medicine offers a quick search tool that allows you to search by name, license number, and/or location.
  • Determine your cost: Parity laws ensure doctors receive the same level of reimbursement for covered services, but these laws don’t explain your costs for appointments. Check with your insurance company to find out what your copay might be for a telehealth appointment and to get a list of providers that accept your insurance. Telehealth services that charge a subscription fee are generally not covered by insurance.
  • Read online doctor reviews: Any time you switch doctors, it’s a good idea to look for reviews on social media to see how other patients feel about the provider. You might get good feedback about a doctor’s bedside manner or office efficiency, which can help you narrow down your choices.

III. Research Our Iowa Telemedicine Sources

Telehealth is relatively new and expanding rapidly to help bring more access to medical care in underserved rural areas. Stay up-to-date on the latest information about telehealth laws, insurance, and Iowa Medicaid by regularly checking these sites.