Audio-Only Telehealth Use Among Traditional Medicare Beneficiaries

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Medicare expanded telehealth coverage for audio-only telehealth visits. However, Medicare reimbursement for these visits will expire after December 2024. A research letter in JAMA Health Forum from Dr. Dhruv Khullar, assistant professor of population health sciences, and colleagues examines how audio-only telehealth use has changed over time and which patients are most affected by policy reforms. While audio-only visits as a proportion of telehealth visits decreased between 2020 and 2022, those receiving audio-only care are more likely to be African American or Black, have medically complex conditions, and be dually eligible. As such, policy restrictions on audio-only visits may disproportionately affect these beneficiaries.  

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