TELEMEDICINE ALLIANCE TALKS MEDICARE SAVINGS: Wider use of telemedicine by seniors could benefit Medicare more than an under-65 crowd, a researcher said at a briefing Monday hosted by the lobbying group Alliance for Connected Care. Dale Yamamoto studied telemedicine usage by the customers of Teladoc, American Well, Anthem, and others and predicted the technology would save Medicare $45 for every virtual visit that’s replaced by an in-person one. Medicare beneficiaries visit the emergency department more than patients covered by commercial insurance, he said, so telemedicine could help Medicare save more by preventing expensive and unnecessary ED visits, he said. The telemedicine industry has struggled to convince Medicare that the technology can save money. “We have attempted over the course of the last year to do as many studies as possible showing what’s happening in the commercial market in hopes that CBO looks at that data and extrapolates it for Medicare,” said Krista Drobac, executive director of the Alliance for Connected Care. “That’s pretty much all we can do given the lack of Medicare data.” Advocates believe the Congressional Budget Office may be getting the wrong idea by looking at data from commercial health plans, since there isn’t any from Medicare.

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