Since the COVID-19 pandemic reached the United States, many older Americans have been more concerned about their health than ever before. While Congress has already passed some legislation to make it easier and more affordable to access COVID-19 testing and treatment, many believe there is more work to be done. One piece of legislation that has gained a lot of momentum in Congress is the Telehealth Modernization Act.

What is the Telehealth Modernization Act? How will it affect Medicare beneficiaries? Finally, how likely is it to pass through Congress? We will answer all of these questions and more, but first, let’s look at how the Telehealth Modernization Act came about.

What Is the Telehealth Modernization Act?

In late July 2020, the chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions introduced the Telehealth Modernization Act. This was one of several proposed bills aimed at combating the effects of COVID-19 and expanding healthcare services to more Americans. The bill would make several specific changes:

  • Removes geographic restrictions from Medicare coverage of telehealth services
  • Guarantees that telehealth services performed at federally-qualified health centers and clinics are covered by Medicare
  • Gives the Health and Human Services Secretary the power to permanently expand the type of telehealth services covered by Medicare
  • Enables Medicare to cover more telehealth services for hospice and home dialysis care

How Would the Bill Affect Medicare?

As you can see from the proposed changes above, the Telehealth Modernization Act is exclusively aimed at providing more telehealth services to Medicare beneficiaries. In essence, the bill would expand telehealth services covered by Medicare to ensure that older adults have access to remote healthcare services. Not only would this give patients more options with their healthcare, but it would also make it safer to seek out medical care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Will the Telehealth Modernization Act Become Law?

Though the bill was introduced in the Senate on July 30, 2020, the Telehealth Modernization Act didn’t become law before the public health emergency officially expired on October 23, 2020. Currently, Democrats and Republicans in both the House and Senate are struggling to reach an agreement on more Coronavirus aid and legislation. Some experts speculate that no new healthcare-related legislation will pass until after the election this November.

The Bottom Line

The Telehealth Modernization Act could make it easier for millions of older adults to access health services remotely. Not only could this revolutionize healthcare in the United States, but it could also help make medical treatment safer for Medicare beneficiaries. In any case, it remains to be seen if the bill will pass into law.

If you’d like to learn more about the Telehealth Modernization Act or your Medicare coverage options, feel free to fill out this form or give us a call anytime. Time for 65’s partnered licensed agents are focused on giving you the information you need, with zero pressure to enroll in a plan.