Telemedicine use in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic among community dwelling U.S. Medicare beneficiaries

Mary Lynn Davis-Ajami, Zhiqiang K. Lu, Jun Wu


Objective: CMS reimbursement regulations for telemedicine changed after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. This study aimed to assess telemedicine utilization patterns offered by health care providers and used by Medicare beneficiaries during the COVID-19 pandemic during 2020.
Methods: This study used the Fall 2020 Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS) supplemental COVID-19 survey to identify Medicare beneficiaries (≥ 65 years) with a regular place for medical care that offered telemedicine during 2020. Major outcomes: prevalence for whether telemedicine was offered before and during the pandemic, telemedicine use, and digital access to telemedicine. Logistic regression identified the demographic factors associated with telemedicine use.
Results: The study sample included 4,380 eligible individual Medicare beneficiaries ≥ 65 years. Of those, 42.9% made telemedicine visits during the pandemic. Approximately 60% of the telemedicine visits were conducted via telephone. Telemedicine was offered to 18% of the respondents before the pandemic vs. 64% during year 2020 of the pandemic. Among telemedicine users, 57.2%, 28.3%, and 14.5% used voice calls, video calls, and both voice and video calls for health care appointments, respectively. Overall telemedicine use varied by sex, race, and region. Individuals 65-74 years, female, living in a metropolitan area, with higher incomes were more likely to make video visits. Experience using telecommunications via the internet influenced telemedicine use significantly.
Conclusions: Telemedicine offered to older Medicare beneficiaries increased dramatically after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, less than half used telemedicine and differences in utilization existed by demographic characteristics.

Full Text:




  • There are currently no refbacks.

Journal of Hospital Administration

ISSN 1927-6990(Print)   ISSN 1927-7008(Online)

Copyright © Sciedu Press
To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the '' domain to your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.