Medicare has temporarily expanded its coverage of telehealth services to respond to
Medicare beneficiaries can temporarily use telehealth services for common office visits,
mental health counseling and preventive health screenings. This will help ensure Medicare
beneficiaries are able to visit with their doctor from their home, without having to go to a
doctor’s office or hospital, which puts themselves and others at risk.
If you have an existing healthcare appointment, or think you need to see your doctor,
please call them first to see if your appointment can be conducted over a smartphone with
video capability or any device using video technology, like a tablet or a laptop. For some
appointments, a simple check-in over the phone without video capabilities may suffice.
Important: If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as a cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider immediately.
Medicare telehealth services include office visits, psychotherapy, consultations, and certain other medical or health services that are provided by an eligible provider who isn’t at your location using an interactive 2-way telecommunications system (like real-time audio and video).
Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Public Health Emergency, doctors and other health care providers can use telehealth services to treat COVID-19 (and for other medically reasonable purposes) from offices, hospitals, and places of residence (like homes, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities) as of March 6, 2020. Coinsurance and deductibles apply, though some healthcare providers are reducing or waiving the amount you pay for telehealth visits.
If you have coverage through a Medicare Advantage Plan, you won’t have to pay out-of-pocket costs (called cost-sharing) for COVID-19 tests. They may also offer more telehealth services than what was included in their approved 2020 benefits.
These services are available in rural areas, under certain conditions, but only if you’re located at one of these places:
- A doctor’s office
- A hospital
- A critical access hospital (CAH)
- A rural health clinic
- A Federally qualified health center
- A hospital-based dialysis facility
- A skilled nursing facility
- A community mental health center