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Telemedicine reached disadvantaged communities during pandemic, study finds

May 4, 2022


Telemedicine skyrocketed after CMS relaxed restrictions on geographic location and allowed providers to bill for virtual patient visits at the same rate as in-person visits during the public health emergency. The Medicare telemedicine coverage waiver issued early 2020 also reduced or eliminated standard coinsurance and deductible costs for virtual services.

A report from the nonprofit Fair Health that analyzed a database of 36 billion private insurance claims calculated that telehealth use surged in the U.S. in the first year of the pandemic. More recently, telehealth usage rebounded in the winter months following dips last summer and fall, with demand for virtual services appearing to fluctuate along with COVID-19 case numbers.

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