CMS Finalizes Rule Expanding Telehealth Access
- The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a final rule that further enhances access to telehealth services for Medicare Advantage beneficiaries, starting in plan year 2020.
- The proposed rule, which was issued back in October 2018, reflected the movement toward allowing beneficiaries to use telehealth services within their own homes.
- Prior to this final rule, Medicare Advantage plans could include telehealth services only as a supplemental benefit. Those benefits had to be paid for with rebate dollars or enrollee premiums.
- Under this final rule, Medicare Advantage plans will be able to include telehealth as a basic government-funded benefit beyond what the original Medicare program offers.
- “Today's policies represent a historic step in bringing innovative technology to Medicare beneficiaries,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma in an announcement posted on the CMS web site. “With these new telehealth benefits, Medicare Advantage enrollees will be able to access the latest technology and have greater access to telehealth.
- The rule's contents are not final until they are published in the Federal Register. This rule is expected to be published in the Federal Register on April 16.
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Brian F. Higgins is an associate in FBT's regulated business group with a focus on health care, and he has a history as corporate counsel to Medpace, Inc., a pharmaceutical clinical research organization.