On Friday, April 5, 2019, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) finalized policies that enable the expansion of telehealth benefits to Medicare Advantage plans. In its final rule, CMS authorized Medicare Advantage plans to offer additional telehealth benefits under government-funded basic benefits, which will expand patients’ ability to utilize telehealth services (in their homes (rather than being required to go to a healthcare facility) and irrespective of whether the live in rural or urban areas). Prior to the issuance of this final rule, individuals with original Medicare were only able to utilize telehealth services if they resided in rural areas and the beneficiary presented to an originating site (which was a limiting factor to many seniors who live in urban areas, although Medicare has also started paying for virtual check-ins), and Medicare Advantage plans categorized telehealth services under supplemental benefits. Therefore, the final rule is a step in the right direction by expanding access to care.
The CY 2020 Medicare Advantage and Part D Flexibility Final Rule (CMS-4185-F) can be found at:: https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/fact-sheets/contract-year-2020-medicare-advantage-and-part-d-flexibility-final-rule-cms-4185-f
The Final Rule can be read in its entirety at: https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2019-06822.pdf
Aaron J. Beresh, Esq. is an attorney with Howard & Howard Attorneys PLLC, and represents healthcare providers and practices in almost all areas of healthcare law with a particular focus on corporate/transactional matters, regulatory, and privacy/security matters. Aaron can be reached at email@example.com or at (248) 939-0463.
This blog post is for general informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice.