Telemedicine Faces Unprecedented Demand in Wake of Coronavirus Crisis Print
Written by Amrita Khalid | QUARTZ   
Tuesday, 24 March 2020 16:53

Telehealth services are being met with a flood of patients in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. As hospitals and public officials urge patients with symptoms of COVID-19 to avoid emergency rooms, online-only services that allow patients to consult with doctors over the phone, video, or direct message are a natural fit. But as demand increases, telehealth providers will confront two challenges: capacity and access. For those with private insurance, many providers have said that telehealth screenings for COVID-19 will be covered for free under their plans. And on Tuesday, President Donald Trump authorized an expansion of Medicare that would cover telehealth, allowing the elderly access to care without leaving their homes. But states have been left to decide on their own whether to expand Medicaid to include telehealth services. Which means that many who are low-income or uninsured may have no choice but to pay out-of-pocket for these services.