Telehealth Coverage expands amid Coronavirus Pandemic
New change to Medicare Telehealth due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Public Health Emergency. Seniors can now access telehealth services in their homes. On March 17, 2020, CMS Administrator Seema Verma says:
“These changes allow seniors to communicate with their doctors without having to travel to a healthcare facility so that they can limit the risk of exposure and the spread of this virus.”– Seema Verma
Moreover, these changes apply to more than just doctors. You can also receive telehealth services from the following healthcare providers:
- Physician Assistants
- Social Workers
- Registered Dietitians
All of these clinicians can now safely provide virtual care services while protecting our seniors from the coronavirus. On March 17, 2020, the American Medical Association (AMA) President Patrice Harris, MD, applauds this Medicare telemedicine policy change. She says:
This important Medicare policy change supports social distancing measures and slows the spread of the novel coronavirus, while providing safe screening and treatment to patients through remote care.– Patrice Harris, MD
Moreover, Doctor Harris says, “The use of telemedicine and remote services are critical to the management of COVID-19, while also ensuring uninterrupted care for 100 million Americans with chronic conditions.” This policy change expands Medicare telehealth benefits to the vast majority of people on Medicare.
Who is eligible for Medicare Telehealth?
Anyone with Medicare Part B (Medical Coverage) is eligible for Medicare Telehealth benefits. This includes people who have Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage Plans, and Medicare Supplement Plans. However, anyone with only Medicare Part A is not eligible for telehealth benefits.
Trump Expands Telehealth Benefits
Robert Bache, owner of Senior Healthcare Direct, breaks the Medicare news on president Trump’s expansion of Telehealth benefits. Watch the MedicareBob video below for more informaiton.
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Medicare Telehealth Communication
Medicare Telehealth allows you to communicate with a healthcare professional using a real-time audio/video system. For example, you may be able to use your smartphone or any other device with video technology, like a tablet or laptop. In addition, you can use telehealth services for virtual check-ins over the phone with your doctor. Furthermore, you can communicate without going to your doctor’s office by using an online patient portal for e-visits.
Medicare Telehealth Coverage and Cost
Medicare Telehealth is covered by Medicare Part B. Telehealth services can include virtual check-ins and e-visits. Moreover, Part B covers coronavirus testing. Original Medicare only covers 80% of Part B costs. Therefore, you may need to pay 20% coinsurance and Part B annual deductible of $198 in 2020. However, Medicare beneficiaries with Medicare Supplement Plan will not pay Part B coinsurance (expect plans K and L).