FutureFocus February 28, 2018: TrendTracking New Telehealth Reimbursement and Future Services

Lisa Remington

In this week’s FutureFocus, we TrendTrack new telehealth reimbursement and future services. In 2017, there were 210 telehealth related bills. Telehealth is finally finding its place in the healthcare delivery system. In another article, we provide insights into health care spending.  In 2020, home health is projected to be the fastest growing sector at 6.7 percent annually, from 5.1 percent in 2017.

Lisa Remington, President, Remington Health Strategy Group

New rules to encourage use of telehealth services under Medicare is a priority at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Administrator Seema Verma told the National Rural Health Association's Policy Institute meeting in Washington. “This year you are going to see a lot more from us in our payment rules,” in particular addressing the health needs of underserved areas.

Telehealth, policy develops much more slowly than the rapidly advancing technology. Incremental changes are taking place to further develop telehealth legislation. In 2017, 210 telehealth related bills were active across thirty states. One of the most common pieces of legislation relate to Medicaid and private payer reimbursement.

National health expenditure growth is expected to average 5.5 percent annually over 2017-2026, according to the annual report by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Office of the Actuary. At this rate, growth in national health spending is projected to be faster than projected growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 1.0 percentage point over 2017-2026. As a result, the report projects the health share of GDP to rise from 17.9 percent in 2016 to 19.7 percent by 2026—health spending rising from $3.3 trillion in 2016 to $5.7 trillion by 2026.