Second Opinions Online

USA Today has an article about online second opinion services. One would think it to be a booming market, however the largest three providers of said services only offer about 3,000 opinions annually.  Here’s the service explanation:

Online second-opinion services offer patients consultations from specialists based on the medical records that they fax, mail or send via the Internet. The average cost, payable upfront via credit card, is $500 to $1,500, depending on the number of radiology or pathology interpretations required. Patients then receive online access to a second opinion in about two weeks.

The problem: “A limiting factor is that most insurance companies do not cover remote second opinions.”

However, the Cleveland Clinic and Cigna recently inked a deal to provide (the former) and cover (the latter) online second opinions for insured individuals.  As more insurance companies begin to reimburse for the service, utilization is likely to rise.

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