CMS proposes to modernize Medicare Advantage, expand telehealth access for patients

CMS announced on Friday a proposed rule as part of the administration's continuing efforts to modernize the Medicare Advantage (MA) and Part D programs. The proposed changes would permit MA plans to offer "additional telehealth benefits" not available in Medicare otherwise beginning in 2020.

CMS announced on Friday a proposed rule as part of the administration's continuing efforts to modernize the Medicare Advantage (MA) and Part D programs. The proposed changes would permit MA plans to offer "additional telehealth benefits" not available in Medicare otherwise beginning in 2020. MA plans would have greater flexibility in offering government-funded telehealth benefits to all their enrollees, regardless of whether they live in rural or urban areas, and enrollees would have increased ability to receive telehealth services from places such as their homes, instead of requiring them to go to a health care facility for telehealth services. "Today's proposed changes would give Medicare Advantage plans more flexibility to innovate in response to patients’ needs," said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. "I am especially excited about proposed changes to allow additional telehealth benefits, which will promote access to care in a more convenient and cost-effective manner for patients." Further proposed changes would increase the quality of care for dually-enrolled beneficiaries in Medicare and Medicaid who participate in "Dual Eligible Special Needs Plans" (D-SNPs) and would increase accountability and boost program integrity within the MA and Part D programs. Comments on the proposed rule are being accepted until December 31, 2018. The proposed rule is available in the Federal Register here.