2020 will be a pivotal year in the expansion of telehealth for Medicare beneficiaries and those participating in a Medicare Advantage (MA) plans. Medicare telehealth services became more accessible after the passage of the Chronic Care Act of 2017, which allowed certain Medicare beneficiaries with chronic conditions to use telehealth services. Medicare has since expanded the breadth of telehealth services and reimbursement. In 2020, MA plans will be able to follow suit and create a larger telehealth footprint.
Telehealth adoption is set to skyrocket
Starting January 1, MA plans will offer telehealth services as part of regular coverage for certain chronic conditions. According to the Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, “90% of the nation’s $3.3 trillion in annual health care expenditures are for people with chronic and mental health conditions.” Since private payers usually follow Medicare’s lead, the American public can expect to see online visits begin to roll-out with private payers. Telehealth will save patients, and commercial insurance, a significant amount of healthcare dollars.
According to a recent survey by a leading telehealth provider, physicians are ready to embrace virtual visits as well. Sixty-nine percent of the study expressed a willingness to see patients online. Perhaps a more striking report statistic is the rate of telehealth’s adoption among healthcare organizations. The telehealth adoption rate is up 340% since 2015. A good comparable for perspective is the rate of EHR adoption from 2003-2006, which saw a rise in use of 68%.
Telehealth makes good business sense
Online visits have the potential to improve patient health and the bottom line: