CLEVELAND (WJW) — A University Hospitals spokesperson said the health care provider is considering billing some messages sent through its MyUHCare app to patients’ insurance — possibly starting next year.

FOX 8 reached out after the Cleveland Clinic on Monday announced some messages sent through MyChart would no longer be free.

“We are currently discussing similar changes at UH depending on the physician’s time required to complete a patient’s request,” reads the statement.

If the provider does decide to start charging for the messages, it wouldn’t be until sometime in 2023, the spokesperson said.

“In the event the requests require more than a simple response, the message may be elevated to a billable encounter. Some examples may include a detailed chart review, research regarding a specific issue, communication with other caregivers or additional questions or communication with the patient,” reads the statement.

Those interactions could take the place of scheduled virtual or in-person appointments. “It is just one more option we are offering to keep our community well,” the spokesperson said.

The Cleveland Clinic announced Monday it would begin billing insurance providers for some patient-provider interactions through the otherwise free MyChart service. The change takes effect Thursday, Nov. 17.

Most private insurance plans will cover those charges at little to no cost, according to Cleveland Clinic, and most Medicare patients won’t pay out-of-pocket.

But if the messages aren’t covered, they could cost up to $50.

Insurers won’t be billed for simple messages for prescription refills or appointment scheduling or about follow-up care after surgery. But the Clinic will bill for messages about more complex matters like medication changes, new symptoms or medical forms — any message for which it would take a provider longer than five minutes to respond.