Jesse Jones

Jesse Jones: New charges for some MyChart messages

At UW Medicine doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals handled more than 1.5 million MyChart messages last year alone. Starting June 27th that messaging system, a vital part of UW’s pandemic healthcare toolbox, will soon come with a cost to patients. We asked Dr. Hunter Wessels from UW Medicine how much patients can expect to pay, and for what services and he said, “The vast majority of things will remain unbilled. We think less than 5% of these messages will be billed.” No cost will remain if the message takes five minutes or less to write. And, patients will never be billed for:

  • Scheduling an appointment
  • Requesting a prescription refill
  • Questions that lead to an appointment
  • Questions related to a visit you had in the last seven days
  • Questions about billing
  • Messages initiated by your healthcare team

Now, here’s what you could get billed for:

  • Requests for new medications
  • Questions about new symptoms or problems
  • Changes to a chronic condition
  • Requests to fill out medical forms
  • Requests for new referrals

Messages will be billed in 10-minute increments. The costs will range from $7-$28 dollars with Medicaid, $14 to $52 dollars with Medicare and $27 to $98 dollars if you have no insurance. Dr. Wassel believes most insurance will cover the costs of the MyChart messages and patients will only be responsible for their co-pay or deductible.

Virginia Mason Franciscan Health says it is using a new portal system called MyVirginiaMason. We reached out to ask about its cost and received this statement: “Billing is based on the level of complexity and the total amount of time the clinician needs to review the patient’s request, the patient’s records, and provide the requested care to the patient.

UW Medicine will be hosting a Community Conversation on June 16th at noon to give both patients and the community an opportunity to learn and ask questions about the patient portal, MyChart.