Medicare has announced it will immediately expand coverage for telemedicine nationwide to help seniors with health problems stay home to avoid coronavirus. Previously, telehealth coverage under Medicare was limited, available mainly in rural areas.
The new option will allow millions of older people to take care of medical problems while heeding public health advice to stay home during the outbreak. For example, a patient with diabetes wouldn’t have to postpone a regular follow-up visit with the doctor to keep safe — he or she could do it via Skype. And people concerned they may have the virus could “see” their doctor or nurse practitioner virtually to find out how to get tested in person.
Risk of serious illness from the coronavirus is greater for older people and those with underlying health problems. Many Medicare beneficiaries are managing chronic health issues that put them at heightened risk. The telemedicine expansion is geared directly to this vulnerable group.
Advocate Health Advisors, a Venice-based health and well-being advisory company, is spreading the message to ensure seniors are aware and taking precautions to stay safe.
“This is welcome news for older adults. Telemedicine is an innovative approach that will allow Medicare recipients to continue to seek treatment for chronic health issues without further risking their health,” said Darwin Hale, CEO of Advocate Health Advisors.
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