fbpx Peering Beyond the Pandemic into Medicare's Telehealth Future 

Many Medicare tools involving telehealth services were made possible by emergency blanket waivers responding to the  Public Health Emergency (PHE) sparked by COVID-19. The primary changes authorized providers to offer telehealth video and audio-only services and to work from their homes while billing from their offices. Hybrid care appears on the rise, providing the flexibility of in-person or telehealth appointments. It also appears that many practitioners and patients are opting for telehealth as their primary care mode, assuring a strong telehealth future funded by Medicare and other payers.

When Will Medicare Coverage for Telehealth Expire?

The blanket waivers offering Medicare coverage of services delivered via specified telehealth technology are in effect until the Secretary of HHS has declared that the  COVID-19 public health emergency has passed. The latest HHS extension for the PHE is effective through January 11, 2023.

The PHE status is reportedly very likely to continue beyond January, given the new COVID wave and reports from two Biden administration officials. In a letter to the state governors, HHS committed to providing a 60-day notice before the PHE. That notice has not yet been issued. Other updates on the status of HHS declarations of public health emergencies and the effects on telehealth’s future can be assessed through the federal government’s PHE tracker.

Medicare is only one of several large telehealth funding sources dependent on the PHE. The PHE allows temporary provisions to allow employers the flexibility to offer telehealth services outside the deductible to employees with High Deductible Health Plans with  Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). Many groups are stepping in to voice concern over the possible loss of these provisions, including the American Telemedicine Association (ATA). In an ATA Action, Kyle Zebley, senior vice president of public policy, American Telemedicine Association, and Executive Director, ATA Action stated:

We certainly appreciate the unprecedented support telehealth has received from the President and Congress, allowing Americans to access needed services during the public health emergency. However, that option will come to a screeching halt for many American workers who have a high deductible health plan (HDHP) health savings account (HSA), who will not be able to access telehealth coverage without first having to meet annual deductibles if Congress does not act urgently before that provision expires on December 31… It would be untenable to think, now that people From Telebehavioral Health Institute – Read More

Who are we?

Leah and Rindie are passionate about removing obstacles to showing up as our whole selves and learning new ways to share our truth with others. 
We're excited to pull together all the information and resources our community need to create just about whatever they can imagine for themselves.

Consider Therapist Resources

You bring the passion; we'll provide the nuts and bolts.