A telehealth service is a full visit with a provider using telephone or video technology that allows for both audio and video communication. Original Medicare covers certain telehealth benefits, such as professional consultations, office visits, including psychiatry services, and a limited number of other services.

Original Medicare only covers telehealth in limited situations:

  • You live in a rural area and travel from your home to a local medical facility to get telehealth services.
  • You require telehealth services to treat behavioral health conditions, including substance use disorder. You have the option of accessing telehealth services from your home or from a medical facility.
  • You require telehealth services to diagnose, evaluate, or treat symptoms of acute stroke. You have the option of accessing telehealth services from your home or from a medical facility.

Medicare Advantage Plans must cover all of the telehealth benefits included in Original Medicare, but they may also cover additional telehealth benefits. Additional telehealth benefits offered by Medicare Advantage Plans may be available if you live outside of a rural area and may be covered in your home. If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan, you should contact your plan to learn about its costs and coverage rules for additional telehealth benefits.

Note: In response to the coronavirus public health emergency, Medicare has expanded coverage for and access to telehealth benefits.