Asking for Medical Advice Through MyChart Messages — Process and Costs

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If you are sending a MyChart message to a clinician at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in Florida, Baltimore Medical System sites (East Baltimore Medical Center and BMS at Yard 56) or Esperanza Health Services, learn more

Questions about a bill? Log in to MyChart

Ask Non-Urgent Questions and Get a Response Within 3 Business Days

MyChart provides online access to your care team for a wide range of medical needs, including prescription refills, appointment scheduling and non-urgent medical questions. We recognize the vital role virtual options play in health care, and we want to make sure our clinicians and patients have access to convenient new ways to communicate.

Please note: Your message may not be read for three business days. Our clinicians do not review messages in the evening or on weekends when the office is closed. If you need to urgently reach your clinician’s office, please call their office number. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. Do not leave a message through MyChart for emergencies.

Some MyChart Messages May Be Billed

While most Johns Hopkins Medicine MyChart messages with your care team are free, starting July 18, 2023, responses that require medical expertise and five minutes or more of your clinician’s time may be billed to your insurance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are medical advice MyChart messages being billed to insurance?
Virtual options have become a standard part of health care. Insurance companies now recognize some MyChart medical advice messages as billable services. We want to make sure our clinicians have the time they need to review and respond appropriately to your concerns, just as they would with an in-person or video visit. If your message takes five minutes or more to respond to, you may be billed.

Johns Hopkins Medicine will closely monitor the impact of this new workflow for patients. 

What type of MyChart messages will be billed to insurance?
Most MyChart messages you send will not be billed, but there are times when patient-initiated messages require more time for review and response. Here are some examples of topics of messages that may be billed:

  • A new issue or symptom requiring medical assessment or referral
  • Adjusting medications
  • Chronic disease check-in and management
  • Flare-up or change in chronic condition

Are there messages that will not be billed to insurance?
Yes — in most cases, you will not be billed for MyChart messages. Here are some examples of patient-initiated messages that will not be billed:

  • Prescription refill requests
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Messages about an issue addressed during a visit in the last seven days
  • Messages that lead to a visit in the next seven days
  • Follow-up care linked to recent surgery
  • Messages that do not require a response
  • Messages that take less than five minutes to answer

What changes will I see?
When you initiate sending a message and select “Ask a medical question,” a pop-up notification will automatically display in MyChart. You can choose one of the following options in response:

  • If you agree to the terms in the pop-up, select “Next” and continue with your non-urgent MyChart message. If the clinician bills for their medical advice, it will appear in the “Visits” section of MyChart as an “eVisit,” with an after-visit summary just as it would for a video or in-person visit.
  • Otherwise, decline and exit the messaging field. You can schedule an appointment if you prefer to have your question answered through an in-person or video visit.

How much will I be billed for medical advice through MyChart messages?
Most MyChart messages are free. Clinicians may only bill for messages that require at least five minutes of time spent reviewing the medical record and providing medical advice. If you do not have insurance, out-of-pocket costs will range from approximately $15–$50, depending on the amount of time spent by your clinician. For most insurance plans, if your message is billed, you may not be charged at all or you may see a low out-of-pocket cost.

Here’s a breakdown of what to expect if your message is billed to insurance:

Insurance plan Cost of a medical advice message 
Medicaid No out-of-pocket cost.
Medicare Medicare will cover 80% with 20% co-insurance (same as an office visit), so most patients would see a cost of $3-$10.
Private Insurance Some patients may have a copay similar to that for in-person or video visits (typically $10 or $20).

If you have a high deductible plan, or if your plan does not cover this service, you may pay the full amount.

To learn more regarding your specific out-of-pocket cost, please contact your insurer. If the representative asks for a CPT code to help identify the visit, the relevant codes are 99421, 99422, 99423 and G2012 (these codes reflect the amount of time your practitioner may spend handling a particular message).

If you have coverage through Medicaid or CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program), make sure you have renewed your coverage. Medicaid re-started its renewal process, which was paused during the COVID-19 public health emergency, in the spring of 2023. Learn more about the Medicaid renewal process.

What if my medical advice messaging requires an in-person or video visit?
If your messaging results in a recommendation for an in-person or video visit for a related medical issue, no charge will be issued for the messaging. The in-person or video visit will be subject to billing.

How will I know if a message I sent was billed?

  • Billed messages will be displayed as an eVisit in the Visits tab in MyChart.
  • Any charges will be visible in the “Billing Summary” section in MyChart with a billing description beginning with “Online Digital E/M Svc.”

If I have a question about a charge, what should I do?
If you or your insurance provider receive a bill that you have questions about, contact our billing and insurance customer service team.

What if I am sending a message to a clinician at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in Florida, Baltimore Medical System sites (East Baltimore Medical Center and BMS at Yard 56) or Esperanza Health Services? 
Due to various differences in operations and contracting models, there will be no charges for any messages sent to clinicians at these sites:

  • Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital and its outpatient care locations in Florida 
  • Baltimore Medical System sites (BMS at Yard 56 or East Baltimore Medical Center) 
  • Esperanza Health Services