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Telehealth use jumped 53% from 2016 to 2017, outpacing all other sites of care, according to a new report. But Medicare pays for telehealth services only if the beneficiary is in a rural area with a shortage of health professionals or lives in a county outside of a metropolitan area. It also limits which providers can bill for such services.

Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers certain telehealth services. You pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for your doctor or other health care provider’s services, and the Part B deductible applies.

Your Cost: To find out how much your test, item, or service will cost, talk to your doctor or health care provider. The specific amount you’ll owe may depend on several things, like:

Other insurance you may have

How much your doctor charges

Whether your doctor accepts assignment

The type of facility

Where you get your test, item, or service

Telehealth services include office visits and consultations that are provided using an interactive 2-way telecommunications system (with real-time audio and video) by a doctor or certain other health care provider who isn’t at your location.

These services are available in some rural areas, under certain conditions, but only if you're located at one of these places:

A doctor's office

A hospital

A critical access hospital (CAH)

A rural health clinic

A federally qualified health center

A hospital-based or critical access hospital-based dialysis facility

A skilled nursing facility

A community mental health center

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