Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) introduced bipartisan legislation, titled Ensuring Parity in Medicare Advantage for Audio-Only Telehealth Act of 2020. This legislation would require that certain audio-only telehealth diagnoses be included in Medicare Advantage risk adjustment. It also requires Medicare Advantage plans to reimburse providers for audio-only telehealth visits as if they were in-person visits during the COVID-19 emergency unless both parties have agreed to a separate payment policy.
“As seniors prioritize safety during the coronavirus pandemic, many have opted for telehealth visits to consult with their doctors from home,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “These virtual visits, either via video or phone, help keep seniors healthy while they adhere to social distancing guidelines. Unfortunately, Medicare payment rules haven’t kept pace with the expansion of telehealth services. This legislation applies a technical fix to help to modernize the payment rules, ensuring that plans can continue to offer telehealth services to seniors through the pandemic.”
“I’m proud to help lead this bipartisan legislation that would expand telehealth options for seniors, especially those with low incomes or located in rural areas, to get the care they need and deserve,” said Senator Roberts. “Telehealth is a safer option for the patient and provider, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, and audio-only telehealth visits would make life easier and safer for many seniors.”