Medicare beneficiaries may not be able to access telemedicine services in a post-pandemic world, Elizabeth Tracey reports


During the pandemic, telemedicine has been a boon for many, perhaps most especially older people, who are often much more at risk for severe disease and death when they develop Covid-19 infection, and may be reluctant to visit a health care provider in person. Brian Hasselfeld, director of telemedicine at Johns Hopkins, says now this service may be largely eliminated.

Hasselfeld: Medicare beneficiaries, those insured by Medicare fee for service, when the federal public health emergency ends, Medicare beneficiaries will only have access to telemedicine in very specific circumstances. Mostly you won’t have access to it, so Congress will hopefully act to ensure that Medicare beneficiaries don’t get a new kind of Medicare donut. It used to be about pharmacy and prescription benefits, now it could be about telehealth benefits, not having telehealth benefits as a Medicare beneficiary.  :28

Hasselfeld says people should contact their legislators and express their desire to see telehealth services preserved under Medicare, and to urge Congress to act. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.