Medicare's coverage for telehealth for home- and community-based care, the product of the 1997 Budget Balanced Act, was first implemented via the 2001 Physician Fee Schedule. It has incrementally expanded since its inception, in traditional Medicare, in Medicare private health plans serving beneficiaries (Medicare Advantage), and through value-based models such as Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). ACOs are health care organizations that are held responsible by insurers (private or public) to improve health outcomes and reduce or contain costs. The traditional program, its ACO models, and Medicare Advantage vary in the telehealth services they cover, but overall telehealth accounts for a modest fraction of Medicare's overall expenditures. While Medicare's coverage of telehealth historically has been limited, recent policy changes have begun to broaden its use. This fact sheet describes the telehealth-provided services available to Medicare beneficiaries. These include current as well as new services resulting from recent policy changes.
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