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Medicare Expands Telehealth Coverage During COVID-19

A Medicare beneficiary video chats with her doctor due to Medicare's expansion of telehealth coverage during COVID-19

In an attempt to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) expanded access to Medicare telehealth services in 2020. While the use of telemedicine has been steadily increasing, it now provides an opportunity for more vulnerable individuals or those who need routine care to maintain consistent communication and care from their providers from the comfort of their own home. When it comes to telehealth Medicare, here’s what you need to know. 

Are telehealth services covered by Medicare?

Under the expansion of telehealth services due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Medicare can now pay for office, hospital, and other visits completed via telehealth. This allows Medicare beneficiaries to access a wider range of services without having to risk their health or the health of others. 

In addition to Original Medicare, individuals with Medicare Advantage plans can also expect coverage to include telehealth services. You can learn more about telehealth benefits for Medicare beneficiaries by visiting Medicare.gov/telehealth

Types of Telehealth Services Covered

There are three literal types of virtual services physicians and other healthcare professionals can provide to Medicare beneficiaries: Medicare telehealth visits, virtual check-ins and e-visits. This includes evaluation and management visits (which replace common office visits), mental health counseling and preventative screenings. 

What is telehealth?

Telehealth is the use of telecommunications to virtually deliver health related services and information that support patient care. Telehealth services give patients access to healthcare professionals from the comfort of their own home and patients can visit with their doctors without having to go to their office or the hospital, avoiding the risk of exposure to COVID-19. 

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