An issue brief published by Kaiser Family Foundation dives into the rapid expansion of telehealth during the pandemic. For example, among the vast majority of Medicare beneficiaries with a usual source of care (95%), such as a doctor or other health professional, or a clinic, nearly two-thirds (64% or 33.6 million) say that their provider currently offers telehealth appointments, up from 18% who said their provider offered telehealth before the pandemic.
But nearly a quarter of Medicare beneficiaries (23%) say they don’t know if their provider offers telehealth appointments, and this percentage is larger among beneficiaries who live in rural areas (30%).
Other notes from this issue brief related to older adults include the following:
- Among Medicare beneficiaries who had a telehealth visit, a majority (56%) report accessing care using a telephone only, while a smaller share had a telehealth visit via video (28%) or both video and telephone (16%). The share of Medicare beneficiaries who had a telehealth visit using telephone only was higher among those age 75 and older (65%), Hispanic beneficiaries (61%), those living in rural areas (65%), and those enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid (67%).
- More than half (53%) of beneficiaries under the age of 65 (who qualify for Medicare due to a long-term disability) had a telehealth visit, compared to 42% of those age 65 to 74 and 43% of those age 75 or older.
- Among the 33.6 million Medicare beneficiaries with a usual source of care who reported that their provider currently offers telehealth appointments, nearly half (45%) said they had a telehealth visit with a doctor or other health professional between the summer (July) and fall of 2020. This translates to just over 1 in 4 (27% or 15 million) of all community-dwelling beneficiaries in both traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage using telehealth during this time period
For more information, see the issue brief here.