Have you exchanged emails with your doctor? It could cost you in the future.

December 7, 2022

A major U.S. clinic has started charging patients for the emails they send to their doctors, and health care industry experts warn it may be the start of a new trend.

The online publication Fierce Healthcare reports that the Cleveland Clinic has begun billing $50 for certain messages patients send to providers through the MyChart portal.

In a notice to patients, Cleveland Clinic explained that appointment scheduling, prescription refills and other brief interactions would continue to be free. But any patient message that required more than five minutes of a provider’s time would be billed.

What types of messages does that include?

  • Changes to your medications
  • New symptoms
  • Changes to a long-term condition
  • Check-ups on your long-term condition care
  • Requests to complete medical forms

“If your message is billed to your insurance, you may not be charged or you may see a low out-of-pocket cost,” the notice said.

Fierce Healthcare found other Ohio clinics and hospitals are also considering charging from $50 to as much as $160 for certain messages. Hospitals and health systems in Chicago and California have also recently adopted electronic messaging billing policies. Voices for Affordable Health has also learned that Oregon Health & Science University in Portland has also started charging fees for some MyChart communications.

What do you think? Do you think you or your health plan should be charged for emails with your doctor? Share your thoughts (and selfies) with Voices for Affordable Health.