Medicare payment policies during COVID-19
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has expanded coverage for telehealth services and providers during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Telehealth policy changes
The federal government announced a series of policy changes that broaden Medicare coverage for telehealth during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Some important changes to Medicare telehealth coverage and reimbursement during this period include:
- Location: No geographic restrictions for patients or providers
- Eligible providers: All health care providers who are eligible to bill Medicare can bill for telehealth services, including Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and Rural Health Clinics (RHCs)
- Eligible services: See this list of telehealth services from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
- Cost-sharing: Providers can reduce or waive patient cost-sharing (copayments and deductibles) for telehealth visits
- Licensing: Providers can furnish services outside their state of enrollment. For questions about new enrollment flexibilities, or to enroll for temporary billing privileges, use this list of Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) to call the hotline for your area
- Modality: Some telehealth services only require a telephone
For guidance on billing and coding Medicare claims during COVID-19, see:
For details about Medicare waivers and flexibilities in effect, see:
- Medicare Coverage and Payment of Virtual Services (video) — from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
- Physicians and Other Clinicians: CMS Flexibilities to Fight COVID-19 (PDF) — from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
- COVID-19 Telehealth Coverage Policies — from the National Telehealth Policy Resource Center
For changes announced in the 2021 Physician Fee Schedule, see:
- Final Policy, Payment, and Quality Provisions Changes to the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule for Calendar Year 2021 — from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
- Finalized CY 2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PDF) — from the National Telehealth Policy Resource Center
Tip: For questions on Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement, contact the National Telehealth Policy Resource Center.
If you are a provider at a Rural Health Clinic (RHC) or Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), see billing Medicare as a safety-net provider.