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Dr. Alan Shatzel, medical director of the Mercy Telehealth Network, is displayed on the monitor RP-VITA robot at Mercy San Juan Hospital in Carmichael, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
(Bloomberg) — Health insurers want you to see the doctor, just not in an office or hospital.

To cut medical costs and diagnose minor ailments, WellPoint Inc. and Aetna Inc., among other health insurers, are letting millions of patients get seen online first. In a major expansion of telemedicine, WellPoint this month started offering 4 million patients the ability to have e-visits with doctors, while Aetna says it will boost online access to 8 million people next year from 3 million now.

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