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Does Medicare Cover Telemedicine?

April 25, 2022

Telemedicine, also known as telehealth, improves access to healthcare without being physically present at a healthcare facility. Over digital devices with an internet connection, people can speak with a doctor and get all the help they need. 

Although introduced in the late 1950s, the need and use of telehealth services recently peaked during the Covid-19 pandemic. For several reasons including lockdown restrictions, fear of getting infected, and increased burden on the healthcare system, thousands of people could not leave their homes to visit a healthcare facility. While things are seemingly back to normal, telemedicine might be here to stay for good.

The question then arises, does my health insurance cover telehealth? The answer is music to the ears. Medicare covers a wide range of medical and health-related services, and that includes telehealth. In this article, we will discuss what parts of Medicare cover telehealth services.

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Medicare telehealth coverage

Medicare is made up of different parts namely: 

  • Medicare Part A (hospital insurance)
  • Medicare Part B (medical insurance)
  • Medicare Part C (Advantage plans)
  • Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage)

Each of these parts covers different medical and health-related services. Telehealth is covered by Medicare parts B and C. 

Medicare Part B

Medicare Part B covers outpatient services, and since telehealth visits are treated as such, it covers telehealth services. Hence, you may enjoy the services of the following health professionals:

  • General physicians
  • Specialist consultants
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Physician assistants
  • Clinical psychologists
  • Clinical social workers
  • Registered Dietitians
  • Licensed nutrition professionals

According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the outpatient-related telehealth services you may enjoy include:

  • Office visits
  • Consultations
  • Preventive health screening
  • Psychotherapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Physical therapy evaluation
  • Occupational therapy evaluations
  • Therapeutic exercises

Additionally, the price is the same. The amount people with Medicare pay for in-person outpatient services is the same amount for telehealth services. According to the CMS, Medicare covers 80% while the personal pays 20% of the cost of standard services. Some of these healthcare services may start with an in-person visit and continue with virtual visits. 

Medicare Part B can also cover emergency (ambulance) transportation and limited non-emergency rides. So, if a client with Medicare needs transportation to a healthcare facility for follow-up care, its cost may be covered. The same goes for non-emergency transportation. If a client is nonambulatory or needs monitoring in transit to another facility, the cost of transportation may be covered. Clients are to check if Medicare can cover their transportation needs.

Medicare Part C

Medicare Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage is sold by private insurance companies. In 2020, it was upgraded to provide increased access to telemedicine services from home. Generally, it has the same coverage for telehealth services as original Medicare (Part A and B) but may come with additional benefits. 

Since it is provided by private insurance companies, the plans may be different. Individuals should check their specific plans with their insurance provider to know what telehealth services they are entitled to enjoy. 

At My Virtual Physician

At My Virtual Physician, we are in-network with many insurance health plans including Medicaid, Medicare, United HealthCare, and Blue Cross. 

Our team is committed to ensuring that patients get the best of health care as needed. We provide virtual care at any point in your pregnancy while you await your appointment with your local OB doctor. We are also available to help guide you through your pregnancy and answer any questions that may arise. 

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