The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced in a proposed rule on October 30, 2018, that it will permit private plans to pay for telehealth services that weren’t previously included in approved plans. Healthcare industry professionals revealed that this change represents the Administration’s approach to modernize Medicare Advantage, that is becoming increasingly popular among senior citizens.
The proposed changes would provide Medicare Advantage plans more flexibility to be more responsive to patients’ needs,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a press release.
Currently, annual Medicare Open Enrollment is now underway for registration and lasts until December 7, 2018. CMS indicated that it is offering the new selection to plans to commence in 2019, with private healthcare insurers making other added benefits available, including adult day care services, in-home support services, and additional benefits targeted to patients with chronic diseases. CMS projects Medicare Advantage enrollment growth of about 11.5%, with 600 additional plans available across the U.S.
The proposed changes for Plan Year 2020 would support the new authority provided to CMS in the US Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, signed by the president earlier in the year. Under the new rule, Medicare Advantage plans would be able to offer additional telehealth benefits which aren’t currently obtainable by Medicare enrollees as part of government-funded basic benefits. Enrollees will be able to obtain telehealth in their home setting without being required to travel to a healthcare facility, as well as healthcare facilities.