Hundreds Of Thousands Of Medicare Recipients To Lose Telehealth Services

Eric Wicklund | Healthcare IT News | March 29, 2013

Realignment of census lines moves Medicare beneficiaries from rural to metropolitan

Hundreds of thousands of Medicare beneficiaries in almost 100 counties across the United States and its territories will be losing coverage for telehealth services because they no longer live in federally designated rural areas.

As a result of the 2010 Census, 97 counties in 36 states and territories are being redefined as metropolitan, rather than rural, Standard Metropolitan Statistical Areas (SMSAs), according to officials with the American Telemedicine Association. That change in status revokes the option for Medicare recipients in those counties to use video conferencing services for healthcare.

ATA officials say Medicare doesn't cover telemedicine in metropolitan areas, where more than 80 percent of all Medicare recipients live.