Does Telemedicine Save Lives? Evidence on the Effect of Telemedicine Parity Laws on Mortality Rates
34 Pages Posted: 16 Nov 2018
Date Written: October 25, 2018
Between 1995 and 2018, just over half of the U.S. states enacted laws requiring private insurance plans cover medical care provided remotely using various technologies. These telemedicine parity laws likely increase health care access, particularly in areas with few providers, by granting patients access to specialists or primary care providers located elsewhere. The effect of these laws on health outcomes is ambiguous. We estimate the effect of telemedicine parity laws on mortality rates of all causes and for causes of death due to conditions more frequently treated with telemedicine. We find declines in mortality rates post-parity laws, driven by decreases in ischemic heart disease deaths. Our results suggest that relaxing current telemedicine regulations in programs such as Medicare might improve patient outcomes.
Keywords: Telehealth, Telemedicine, Parity Laws, Mortality Rates
JEL Classification: i13
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation