More than three times as many Medicare beneficiaries had access to their doctors via a phone or video visit during the pandemic than before, a trend which is likely to continue with the new COVID-19 variant causing another surge in coronavirus cases.  The Kaiser Foundation, which recently conducted a study on this issue, said that expanded telehealth care is really good news for people of color, those with disabilities and low income families.   Those living in rural areas had difficulty getting to the doctor even before coronavirus.  Believe it or not, Monterey County is considered rural and indeed in South and North County populations are spread out over quite a large footprint. Thankfully, in early 2020, Medicare expanded coverage of such visits to enable all enrollees to keep up with their medical care while minimizing their r4isk of exposure to the coronavirus.  Although the rules only extend through the end of 2021, there are a number of bills in Congress which would make telehealth coverage permanent.

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