Does Medicare Cover Telemedicine During COVID-19?

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Telemedicine is growing in response to COVID-19.

You are not feeling well.

Typically, you would go to a doctor.

The times are anything but typical.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many doctors offices are closed to unrelated illnesses.

Even if your doctor is open for business, you may not want to expose yourself to the virus by venturing out in public.

According to a recent Kaiser Health News article titled  “Telemedicine Surges, Fueled By Coronavirus Fears And Shift In Payment Rules,” telemedicine may be a good option.

Telemedicine is of increased importance during COVID-19.
More people are utilizing telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Millions of Americans are now meeting with their doctors over the internet.

This serves the dual purpose of protecting the doctor and the patient.

There is a problem.

You are on Medicare.

Medicare typically only covers telemedicine if you are living in a remote area and require a specific checkup.

The rules have changed.

Many private and government insurers have increased payments made for telemedicine visits to make them equal to coverage for office visits.

Medicare patients benefit from this and other updates.

Medicare is also allowing patients to meet virtually with doctors regarding the pandemic even if the doctor is not licensed in the state where the patient is located.

Some stated have even waived to requirement for the physician to specifically be licensed in the state of the patient

Regardless whether your state has waived this restriction, meeting with doctors online has inherent limitations.

A doctor cannot run certain tests, x-ray your bones, or listen to your lungs.

Despite these limitations, telemedicine can provide beneficial mental and physical health services to ailing individuals.

Many people have asked Medicare to expand its telemedicine coverage for years.

These Medicare adjustments may be limited to the current pandemic, but they may also expand the use of telemedicine for years to come.

Reference: Kaiser Health News (March 27, 2020) “Telemedicine Surges, Fueled By Coronavirus Fears And Shift In Payment Rules”

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