Telehealth to Continue in Its Widespread Use

May 11, 2022

During the pandemic, many patients turned to telehealth services for their medical and mental health needs. Statistics show that 2 out of 5 Medicare enrollees used telehealth services in the last two years.

On March 15, 2022, President Biden signed into law $1.5 trillion spending bill called the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2022. A portion of this extensive law extended Medicare coverage of professional consultations and office visits allowing high-deductible plans to provide telehealth services without a deductible through December 31, 2022.

The new law also removes geographic requirements. Prior to the pandemic, a patient receiving telehealth services had to be physically located at a physician’s office, hospital or other approved health care facility for the services to be covered by Medicare. Now, patients can access these services from the comfort of their home and still have the services covered by Medicare.

The law also expands practitioners who are eligible to provide these services to include mental health service providers. Prior to the pandemic, there were in-person requirements for mental health services. For the time being this requirement has been lifted.

It is no longer required that the technology being used enables real-time audiovisual communication. Lifting the stringent geographic and technology requirements has made telehealth services easier on both the providers and the patients. Many providers now advocate for these changes to be made permanent.

With increasing ease of technology, most experts believe telehealth will continue to expand and improve in the coming years. Those in rural and underserved areas especially benefit from these services. Many patients like the fact they do not have to travel long distances to see medical providers for routine appointments.

Medicare rules continuously change and we strive to provide our seniors with the most up-to-date information. We will continue to monitor legislative and regulatory changes impacting telehealth for seniors. For more information on elder law services such as long-term care planning, contact the elder law attorneys at Stouffer Legal in the Greater Baltimore area. You can schedule an appointment by calling us at (443) 470-3599 or emailing us at office@stoufferlegal.com.

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