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Analysis

Medicare Advantage Plans Gain Greater Telehealth Leeway for 2020

By Steven Porter  
   April 05, 2019

The change will make it more likely that MA plans offer telehealth benefits outside their supplemental benefit offerings, CMS said.

In a final rule finalized Friday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) granted greater leeway for Medicare Advantage plans to offer telehealth benefits for plan year 2020.

The change, which was proposed last October, will make it more likely that MA plans offer telehealth benefits outside their supplemental benefit offerings, thereby expanding access to telehealth services for patients who reside in rural or urban areas alike, CMS said.

"With these new telehealth benefits, Medicare Advantage enrollees will be able to access the latest technology and have greater access to telehealth. By providing greater flexibility to Medicare Advantage plans, beneficiaries can receive more benefits, at lower costs and better quality," CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a statement announcing the development.

Related: 3 Predictions for Virtual Care in 2019

Friday's announcement came after CMS released a package of MA payment and policy updates Monday, when the agency finalized plans to grant MA plans greater flexibility in the supplmental benefits they choose to offer.

More information on Friday's announcement is available in a CMS fact sheet and the final rule itself.

—Steven Porter is an associate content manager and online news editor for HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.


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