Medicare and Medicaid policies
Federal waivers and regulatory changes initiated during the COVID-19 public health emergency make it easier for providers to deliver telehealth services to Medicare and Medicaid patients.
Medicare telehealth flexibilities
Medicare authorized a number of telehealth flexibilities during the COVID-19 public health emergency. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid has made many of these telehealth flexibilities permanent.
The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 authorized the extension of additional telehealth flexibilities through December 31, 2024.
Detailed information on permanent and temporary Medicare telehealth flexibilities is available at telehealth policy changes after the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Medicare telehealth flexibilities include:
Health care providers may offer telehealth services to patients located in their homes and outside of designated rural areas.
Practicing across state lines
Health care providers can furnish telehealth and other services using communications technology wherever the patient is located, including at home, even across state lines.
However, practicing across state lines is subject to requirements set by the states involved. For information about state-level policies and interstate agreements, see telehealth licensing requirements and interstate compacts.
Relationship between patient and provider
Health care providers may see both new and established patients for telehealth and other visits furnished using communications technology.
Types of telehealth services covered.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services significantly expanded the list of services that can be provided by telehealth during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Some of these services will continue to be covered under Medicare through December 31, 2024.
- Some types of telehealth services no longer require both audio and video — visits can be conducted over the telephone.
- For details see this list of telehealth services covered by Medicare.
Types of eligible providers
Generally, any provider who is eligible to bill Medicare for their professional services is eligible to bill for telehealth during this period.
Occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech language pathologists, and audiologist may bill for Medicare-approved telehealth services.
Supervision of health care providers
Health care providers may supervise services through audio and video communication, instead of only in-person.
For additional details about these policies, see:
- Medicare Coverage and Payment of Virtual Services (video) — from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
- COVID-19 Telehealth Coverage Policies — from the National Policy Center - Center for Connected Health Policy
- List of Telehealth Services (covered for COVID-19) — from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
- Permanent and temporary changes to Medicare telehealth policies
For billing related information, see billing and coding Medicare Fee-for-Service claims.
Safety-net provider policies
Federally Qualified Health Centers and Rural Health Clinics can provide telehealth services to patients wherever they are located — including in their homes — through December 31, 2024. This includes coverage for certain audio-only telephone evaluation and management services.
For more information, refer to:
- Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs): CMS Flexibilities to Fight COVID-19 (PDF) — from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
Read more about billing Medicare as a safety-net provider.
Federal cost-sharing waivers
Health care providers won’t face administrative sanctions for reducing or waiving cost-sharing obligations for telehealth services paid for by federal or state health care programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid.