More Than 1 in 4 Medicare Beneficiaries Will Have a Telehealth Visit Between Summer and Autumn 2020


While the coronavirus pandemic remained in people’s homes last year, more than 1 in 4 Medicare beneficiaries visited telehealth with a doctor or other health professional between the summer and fall of 2020, a recent analysis of KFF nakakaplag.

Once limited to beneficiaries living in rural areas, coverage of telehealth services through traditional Medicare has undergone rapid expansion during the pandemic, with new options including allowing some service to be provided by audio telephone only. Medicare Advantage plans provide additional telehealth benefits not covered by traditional Medicare outside of public health emergencies, and almost all. However, coverage for telehealth services under traditional Medicare will return to more limited use if the public health emergency ends without a change to current rules.

The new analysis provides an insight into the pandemic-driven changes in Medicare telehealth coverage, examines the use of beneficiaries living in the community of telehealth services, and addresses issues that has to do with expanding telehealth coverage under traditional Medicare beyond public health emergencies.

The new analysis provides an insight into the pandemic-driven changes in Medicare telehealth coverage, examines the use of beneficiaries living in the community of telehealth services, and addresses issues that has to do with expanding telehealth coverage under traditional Medicare beyond public health emergencies.

The new analysis provides an insight into the pandemic-driven changes in Medicare telehealth coverage, examines the use of beneficiaries living in the community of telehealth services, and addresses issues that has to do with expanding telehealth coverage under traditional Medicare beyond public health emergencies.

Among the trees known:

• Nearly two-thirds (64%, or 33.6 million) of Medicare beneficiaries with a regular source of care say their provider now offers telehealth appointments, up from 18% who said their provider offered telehealth before the pandemic. However, nearly a quarter (23%) of Medicare beneficiaries do not know whether their provider provides telehealth appointments, and this proportion is more prevalent among rural beneficiaries (30%).

• Among Medicare beneficiaries who say their provider offers telehealth, some groups of beneficiaries are more likely to report having a telehealth visit to a doctor or other health professional, including Medicare beneficiaries under age 65 with long -term disabilities, Black and Hispanic beneficiaries. , Medicare beneficiaries who enroll in both Medicare and Medicaid, and beneficiaries with multiple chronic conditions. At the same time, there was no reported difference in the rate of telehealth use between traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage beneficiaries.

• A majority (56%) of Medicare beneficiaries with a telehealth visit reported accessing care using only the phone, while a small proportion visited telehealth via video (28%) or both on video and telephone (16%).

Several telehealth-related bills were introduced in the 117th Congress, including proposals to make permanent the expansion of telehealth provided during public health emergencies, expanding Medicare coverage of public health services. mindset, and expanded the scope of providers eligible to pay for telehealth services covered by Medicare. Other fees are intended to assess the impact of expanded telehealth services on patient care quality and program spending.

For more data and analysis on telehealth and pandemic, visit kff.org.



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