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AHIP Applauds New House Bill Focused on Audio-Only Telehealth for Medicare Advantage

Press Release

Published Mar 24, 2021 • by AHIP

Matt Eyles, president and CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), issued this statement following the introduction of the Ensuring Parity in MA and PACE for Audio-Only Telehealth Act of 2021 (H.R. 2166) in the House by Reps. Teri Sewell (D-AL) and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL). The bill, which was cosponsored by Reps Tony Cardenas (D-CA), Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA), Ron Kind (D-WI), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Jason Smith (R-MO), and Jackie Walorski (R-IN), would allow for audio-only telehealth services to count toward Medicare Advantage risk adjustment:

Every American deserves access to the care they need. During the COVID-19 crisis, patients—especially seniors who face higher risks from COVID-19 infection—have increasingly relied on telehealth to safely access their care. However, many seniors in rural and urban communities still struggle with a lack of broadband Internet services.

Lawmakers have recognized the importance of telehealth, and this important legislation recognizes that for many seniors, a phone call is their only option for health care at home. AHIP applauds Reps. Sewell and Bilirakis for their leadership and introducing the bipartisan bill. AHIP recently joined with 10 other health care organizations in support of the bill, which would help ensure that seniors have access to the high-value telehealth benefits provided by the MA program, and reduce health disparities caused by unequal access to technology.

The bipartisan legislation is another example of how the public and private sector can work together to improve health care affordability and access for all Americans. We urge members of Congress to work together swiftly to pass this important legislation that will promote stability in premiums and benefits and improve access to care for Medicare beneficiaries.