These days, everything is done online, from shopping and banking to dating and working. People are even getting medical care online. Telemedicine offers many benefits, and you should make sure your Medicare clients know about it.
The Benefits of Telemedicine
In telemedicine, patients use telecommunications devices to obtain medical treatment from a care provider in a separate location. Doctors and other medical practitioners can provide a wide range of treatments remotely during the virtual appointment. Everything from psychiatric care to surgery has been provided using telemedicine.
Although it might sound strange to anyone who’s not used to it, telemedicine offers many benefits.
One of the greatest advantages of telemedicine is its ability to increase access to care. This can be especially important for individuals living in underserved areas, where access to specialists may be severely limited. Thanks to telemedicine, a patient in a rural hospital can receive advanced care from an expert in another location without requiring transportation.
Telemedicine also offers convenience. In some applications of telemedicine, patients can even access care from the comfort of their own homes. This can be especially useful for chronic conditions that require ongoing care.
Medicare Coverage for Telemedicine
According to Medicare.gov, Medicare Part B covers telemedicine services in some situations. However, these situations are strictly limited. The current rules focus on increasing care options for patients living in rural areas with limited access to providers. Beneficiaries living in rural areas and located in one of the listed health facilities can receive telehealth services at the same cost as in-person services.
Medicare patients participating in the Chronic Care Management program may also be eligible for telemedicine services. These services are designed for patients with two or more serious chronic conditions.
With Medicare Advantage, access to telemedicine varies. As telemedicine surges in popularity, some providers have been adding telemedicine benefits to their plans in select areas. Medicare Advantage enrollees should check their policies to see what telemedicine benefits they have.
The Future of Telemedicine Access
The telemedicine trend will likely continue as more and more providers offer telehealth services. New laws may also go a long way to increase access to telemedicine in the future. The Medicare Telehealth Parity Act of 2017 would result in an incremental expansion of telemedicine services. Another bill would increase telemedicine coverage in Medicare Advantage plans.
In the meantime, Medicare patients may be unaware of the telemedicine benefits they already have access to, so it’s important to highlight these services and their advantages.