PHILADELPHIA – Independence Blue Cross (Independence) announced that it is now offering coverage for telemedicine. This coverage option is a new way to make health care more convenient and accessible, allowing our members to consult with a doctor via secure video on their smartphone or other digital device for medical issues that aren't emergencies. "Telemedicine is emerging as a consumer preferred channel and we're pleased to offer our members the opportunity to take advantage of communicating more quickly and easily with their doctors through a secure video on their cell phone, iPad, or other digital device," said Daniel J. Hilferty, president and CEO of Independence Blue Cross. "These virtual visits won't replace the important relationships our members have with their primary care physicians, but rather expand the options for access to convenient, timely health care, which also include our network of retail health clinics and urgent care centers." Independence's telemedicine coverage offers members two options for talking with physicians via a HIPAA-secure video on a cell phone, iPad, or other digital device. First members may have a telemedicine consultation with their local primary care physician (PCP) if she or he offers telemedicine consultations and second, members — depending upon the benefits offered by their employers — can take advantage of 24/7 access to a nationwide network of board-certified PCPs through a national telemedicine vendor called MDLIVE®. Members in our region may use telemedicine through their local PCP as long as she or he offers consultations through a HIPAA-secure video and the medical issue is not an emergency. This gives a PCP the ability to talk to a patient if an in person visit isn't convenient, and offers a more cost-effective option than seeking care at an emergency room or urgent care center. This option is available to members who are enrolled in commercial fully-insured and self-funded Keystone Health Plan East HMO or Personal Choice® PPO plans and whose PCP offers telemedicine consultations. Independence is also offering telemedicine to select employer groups through MDLIVE, a national vendor that connects members all over the country to licensed and board-certified PCPs via a HIPAA-secure video, telephone, or mobile app 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. MDLIVE's physicians can diagnose medical conditions, provide short-term treatment plans, and prescribe necessary medications for non-emergency medical conditions. Through the MDLIVE web portal, members can get information on physicians, check appointment availability, and schedule an appointment with the doctor of their choice. The member may request a copy of the medical record from a telemedicine consultation to share with their PCP. This program is available only to certain members depending upon the benefits offered by their employers. About Independence Blue Cross Independence Blue Cross is the leading health insurance organization in southeastern Pennsylvania. With our affiliates, we serve nearly 9 million people in 32 states and the District of Columbia, including 2.5 million in the region. For nearly 80 years, we have been enhancing the health and wellness of the people and communities we serve by delivering innovative and competitively priced health care products and services; pioneering new ways to reward doctors, hospitals, and other health care professionals for coordinated, quality care; and supporting programs and events that promote wellness. To learn more, visit www.ibx.com. Connect with us on Facebook at ibx.com/facebook and on Twitter at @ibx. Independence Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.