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Technology has definitely improved and is continuously improving in the medical field. Doctors and medical professionals can now talk to their patients over the phone with regard to consultations and mental health therapy. This service is known as Telehealth. And it is most valuable now during the time of a health pandemic caused by the Covid-19 virus.
So a common question many people have is, “Does Medicare cover phone sessions?” In this article, we answer the question in clear, plain English. You will also find the average costs of going through phone sessions and other helpful info.
Does Medicare Cover Phone Sessions?
The short answer is yes; Medicare will cover the cost of phone sessions. But not 100% of the time. As is often the case with Medicare, certain conditions must be met for Medicare to pay for your phone sessions. Below we look at what these are so you know what to expect.
Medicare Part A and B
Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B) provides coverage for phone sessions if they are considered medically necessary. Your healthcare provider must first order the call for Original Medicare to provide coverage.
Medicare Part B considers telemedicine appointments as something similar to in-person outpatient appointments. For that reason, Medicare Part B provides coverage for telemedicine appointments.
There are a variety of services that you may receive in a telehealth consultation. Some of the services that you may receive in a telemedicine appointment may include:
- Office visits
Certain healthcare providers can provide telemedicine appointment options. These certain healthcare professionals may include the following:
- Physician assistants
- Nurse practitioners
- Clinical social workers
- Nurse anesthetists
- Licensed nutritionists
- Licensed dieticians
You can receive a telehealth service in two ways. You can either accept it in your home without ever going out, or an alternative would be you can go to a healthcare facility and have it there.
Medicare Advantage Plan
Medicare Advantage (Part C) may or may not cover phone sessions. Precisely what it covers and how much the out-of-pocket costs vary depending on your plan’s specifics.
Medicare Part C made some changes to its coverage policies for phone sessions and telemedicine appointments. Additional benefits were added, which include telehealth access from home.
All Medicare Part C plans include this benefit, and some Part C plans have other additional benefits aside from that one. What benefit that may be will depend on the Medicare Part C plan.
How Much Does A Telehealth Service Cost?
Most of the time, online phone consultations are less expensive when compared to in-person hospital visits. Just like with in-person consultations, the exact cost of your telehealth service will differ depending on what type of service you will receive.
Note: Medicare coverage changes all the time. And your specific coverage may vary from plan to plan for Medicare Advantage. Always be sure to double-check with your health care provider and/or Medicare insurance provider about what your plan covers and what it does not.
Additional Info on Medicare Coverage
This article is part of our series on “What does Medicare cover?”
Also, you can check out other articles in this series, including: Does Medicare cover spinal surgery?