Fad or future? Telehealth expansion eyed beyond pandemic

WASHINGTON (AP) — During the coronavirus pandemic the use of telehealth visits has taken off after Medicare temporarily relaxed restrictions that predated the smartphone era. Consultations via tablets and phones were a boon to patients and doctors who were unable to visit face to face when society shut down. Telehealth visits have dropped with the economic reopening, but are still far more common than before. Now there’s a push to make telemedicine a permanent mainstay of the government’s flagship health program. But it’s going to take involvement by Congress to do away with the old restrictions. Many private insurance plans, including those in Medicare Advantage, offer some level of telemedicine coverage.