Technology | 06.21.22
Pandemic Plus: More Than 28 Million Seniors Using Telehealth
A new report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shows positive developments in the use of telehealth by seniors. A review of Medicare fee-for-service and Medicare Advantage telehealth claims compared March 2019 through February 2020 to the same time period of March 2020 through February 2021. The results indicated more than 28 million Medicare beneficiaries used telehealth in the first year of the pandemic, accounting for more than two in five beneficiaries. They also used 88 times more telehealth services in the first year of the pandemic than the year before, while telehealth usage remained high through early 2021, with most beneficiaries using it to replace office visits. Its use by many urban beneficiaries marked a significant change from before the pandemic, when most could only use telehealth from rural medical locations. Telehealth was most often used for office visits, behavioral health services, and long-term care community and home visits. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services also widened the use of audio-only telehealth visits, especially in regions where broadband access was limited.