Telemedicine and Medicare Coverage: Telehealth
Telemedicine is becoming more and more popular. Here is a great article by MedicareFAQ that has some really good information.
Leaving your home when traveling to and from your medical visits can sometimes seem like an intimidating task. Especially if it’s difficult for you to travel.
With Telemedicine, also known as Telehealth, seniors will have the option to stay in the comfort of their own home to receive medical attention. Thus, avoiding the stress and trouble of attending appointments, routine check-ups, hospital stays, or any other aspect of medical health care.
What is Telemedicine
Telemedicine is essentially a way for patients to meet with doctors virtually, to be diagnosed and treated in remote locations. While this is a new service, Telemedicine is projected to lower some cost aspects of health treatments. As well as improve the way health is being monitored for seniors.
At this point in time, telemedicine is a well recognized service. It’s increasingly becoming the more chosen option when looking into health care services.
Benefits of Telemedicine
Aside from staying remote, when moving from place to place can be too physically demanding, telemedicine comes with five major benefits.
- Telemedicine technology provides you with the opportunity to seek health care at your convenience from any device that has a camera and microphone. Wherever you are, health care is available to you in the palm of your hands.
- Sitting in an office, anticipating your appointment, can be inconvenient and add stress to an already stressful situation. With telemedicine, you eliminate the waiting room process before your appointment. Not sitting in a waiting room also means there is less of a possibility to receive or spread sickness.
- Often times a patient may feel disconnected with their health care provider when attending in-person physician visits. Telemedicine provides you the opportunity to build a better relationship with your physician. Without meeting in person, communication about health care will be key, therefore strengthening the relationship between a doctor and patient.
- With telemedicine, you are presented a better opportunity to connect with more physicians and better doctors. For example, you may be sick, and needing a physician in a particular field, that could be located cities, or even states away. Traveling may be difficult for you, but you will have access to communicate with those people from a remote location.
- If the doctor is happy, the patient is happy! While the benefits for patients in telemedicine seem almost endless, it also benefits the physicians! When the doctor chooses to go the telemedicine route, they will have more time for necessary medical activities. If they have the ability to take care of their patients in a more efficient way, then they have more time to assist others in need and possibly even gain more knowledge in their own field!
Health Care Providers with Medicare in Telemedicine
Medicare typically limits the health care providers you can seek telemedicine services with. With Medicare, health providers that are eligible for telemedicine are:
- Nurse Midwives
- Dieticians/Nutrition Specialists
- Psychologists/Social Workers
Telemedicine and Medicare Coverage
Anyone who is a beneficiary of Medicare Part B qualifies for most telemedicine services. Just like in-person doctor visits and consultations with Medicare, you are responsible to pay for your portion of the cost for telemedicine services.
If you are enrolled Medicare Part B, you’ll typically pay 20% of the approved Medicare amount for telemedicine services, after meeting your Part B annual deductible.
If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan, provided by a private insurance company who is contracted with Medicare, the cost for telemedicine health care would be the same as the cost for in-person health visits.
Telemedicine services covered by Medicare include, but are not limited to:
- Physician consultations
- Health check-ups
- Mental health counseling
Please note, it is important to contact your telemedicine physician first. This is to see if they participate in Medicare to ensure your coverage applies with their offered services.
If they do not currently take part in telemedicine technology, and it is something you are interested in participating in, we suggest looking for an office in your area that can accomodate your needs.
How will Telemedicine impact Medicare Beneficiaries
Telemedicine will provide a more comfortable and convenient medical health care experience. It’ll also save the patient travel expenses for routine check-ups and other charges that come from visiting a doctor in person.
While those are very noteworthy and valuable benefits, telemedicine technology is still new. It will continue to positively impact Medicare beneficiaries in the future.
In 2015, Medicare extended their beneficiary coverage to several new telehealth services, and they continue to research and grow.
The demand for telemedicine through Medicare is continuously increasing. While the telemedicine industry is still working out a number of challenges and sometimes even legal issues, it is a rapidly growing service.
In the upcoming years, as telemedicine becomes more popular with Medicare, Medicare beneficiaries can expect telehealth practices to reduce medical costs, improve the process of medical monitoring, and create a higher-quality health care administration for seniors.
Whether your new to Medicare, or are currently enrolled, give us a call to make sure you’re taking advantage of all the benefits you deserve. Get help with the out of pocket costs left up to the beneficiary to pay.