Medicare beneficiaries completed 54.5 million virtual office visits in 2020, according to a new federal report released by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General. The analysis considers Medicare fee-for-service claims data and Medicare Advantage encounter data from March 1, 2020, to Feb. 28, 2021, and from March 1, 2019, to Feb. 29, 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused telehealth use to skyrocket. Medicare beneficiaries used 114.4 million telehealth services from March 2020 to February 2021, which is 88 times the use of these services by this population the year prior.
From March 2020 through February 2021, 43 percent of Medicare’s 66 million beneficiaries – more than 28 million people enrolled in Medicare – used a telehealth service. Prior to the pandemic, just one percent of beneficiaries used telehealth.