Would Expanded Access to Telemedicine be a Good Thing for Pennsylvania Seniors?

Doctor doing a telemedicine sessionPennsylvania may provide senior citizens with improved access to telemedicine by 2020 if the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) proposal gains approval.

While senior home health care services in Jersey Shore and other parts of the state typically require professionals, the expanded telemedicine service could be useful for those with Medicare Advantage health plans.

Policy Coverage

Healthcare advocates support the proposal because it would streamline the filing of appeals among Medicare and Medicaid enrollees in dual-eligible plans for special medical care. What’s more, the proposal would recover Medicare Advantage enrollees’ $4.5 billion of overpayments over a 10-year period.

Another benefit of the proposal involves new ways of determining the star ratings for Medicare Advantage. CMS will accept comments on the proposal until the end of this year. If you’re planning to add new policies, such as assisted living or home healthcare, note that Medicare may not cover these services for a long-term period. You may need to consider a separate insurance policy.

Cost of Senior Care

It costs an average of $3,670 per month to pay for assisted living in Pennsylvania in 2018. The cost in Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Chambersburg, and Lancaster could be higher with prices ranging from $4,270 to $5,193 per month.

Home healthcare by a professional involves an hourly rate at an average of $24 per hour. The cheapest areas for this service are found in Altoona, Williamsport, Bloomsburg, Reading, and York, where you could pay as low as $20.75 per hour. Some of the financing programs and waivers available for different services include the Department of Aging Waiver, Services My Way, and the recently implemented Community HealthChoices (CHC), which would become available statewide in January 2019.

Telemedicine coverage could be a complementary cover in your healthcare policy, but some services still require a personal approach. What is your opinion about the CMS proposal?