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Analysis

Telehealth to Gain Ground in 2020 Under Medicare Advantage Proposal

By Steven Porter  
   October 29, 2018

Enrollees would have access to telehealth benefits regardless of whether they live in rural or urban areas, unlike the current Medicare fee-for-service program.

Medicare Advantage plans will have greater leeway to offer telehealth services to their beneficiaries in plan year 2020 under a proposed rule released Friday by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

The proposal would allow Medicare Advantage plans to offer enrollees telehealth benefits regardless of whether they live in rural or urban areas, unlike the current Medicare fee-for-service program's telehealth benefit, which includes geographic restrictions, CMS said.

The proposal will pave the way for innovations that are more responsive to patient needs, CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a statement.

"I am especially excited about proposed changes to allow additional telehealth benefits, which will promote access to care in a more convenient and cost-effective manner for patients," Verma said.

The proposed changes would also make it easier for Medicare Advantage beneficiaries to connect with telehealth providers from their homes. The proposals were authorized by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018.

There's a fact sheet on the proposal on the CMS website, and the proposed rule itself will be published in the Federal Register.

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


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