If there’s one thing that many of us overlook in our daily lives, it’s probably seeing a doctor regularly. Whether it’s the rigors of daily life keeping us from doing so or a reluctance to take the time (and pay the money) to do it, there’s no denying that it can be a hassle. Thankfully, technology has supplied a way to remove the hassle from the experience and see a doctor from the comfort of your own home via telemedicine. Scheduling an online doctor’s appointment is easy and convenient.
Seeing a doctor online is one of the easiest, most convenient ways to take control of managing your health. We put together a few tips for preparing and getting the most out of making your next non-emergency doctor’s appointment online. Check it out below.
Find A Reputable Telemedicine Provider
The first step on your telemedicine journey comes with finding a reputable provider. Suppose you’re insured by one of the big five insurance companies (United Health Care, Humana, Centene, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna). In that case, there’s a good possibility they have a provider already available for members to use. But there are certainly other options available. Providers like PlushCare, Teledoc, and Amwell all have different services and work with various insurance providers to help patients seek the health care they need. There are several ways to find a reputable service. Speak with your primary care physician to see if they offer telemedicine services. You can also seek information through a local health center, clinic, or medical facility. Perhaps the best way to find a reputable provider and determine if your insurance will cover your needs through the service is to ask the insurance provider for recommendations, information, and in-network suggestions for both telehealth and telemedicine.
Find A Good, Private Website
So, what should you look for in a telemedicine website? First off, it should be easy to navigate and use. User-friendliness is essential here. No one wants to hunt around on a website to find the information they need. There should also be easy access to a list of services they provide, including urgent care, ongoing care, and therapy. The process for booking an online doctor’s appointment needs to be straightforward, intuitive, and accessible to enable potential patients to book their appointment. On the doctor or healthcare provider’s end, the website should address all of your needs with the same system. Making schedules, checking vitals, accessing health records, generating prescriptions, insurance information, and audio/video should all be integrated into the same platform. Privacy and HIPAA compliance are essential components to any health service as well.
Find Out What Your Insurance Covers
Something that’s likely on your mind is how to pay for your online doctor appointment. Most insurances cover telemedicine visits and might also waive deductibles for consultations. Certain telemedicine providers may even be included as the “go-to” provider for your particular insurance. For example, Teledoc for Aetna and MD Live for Blue Cross Blue Shield. These insurances will also cover other telemedicine providers if their preferred one doesn’t suit your needs. Some insurances (like Medicare) might offer discounted rates for telemedicine visits. Memberships are a core part of using a telemedicine service, so if you find one you really like, you may be able to save money by joining them through a monthly fee. Check with your insurance to see if they’ll cover it, and always be aware that there are possible fees or out-of-pocket expenses that may not be covered. Every insurance is different and different states have varying requirements for how insurance treats telemedicine, so understanding your state’s own requirements is crucial. Here is a list of state telehealth policies to help you get started.
Learn Which Conditions They Treat
Are you interested in taking advantage of the telemedicine service but on the fence because you’re uncertain about what conditions they can treat? If so, you can take some comfort in knowing they cover a wide range of treatments, from minor urgent care to managing chronic health conditions. Here’s a quick overview:
- Colds and Flu
- Insect Bites
- Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
- Respiratory Infections
- Sinus issues
- Skin rashes
- Sore Throats
- Sprains & Strains
- Bladder Infections
Online doctors can treat many other issues, so research and select your provider appropriately to ensure they can help you address your concerns.
Learn About Prescription Availability
Getting a prescription refilled or acquiring a new prescription for a particular treatment usually requires a doctor’s appointment and authorization. With telemedicine, it’s all part of the appointment process. When patients first sign up for an online doctor’s appointment, most providers ask them ahead of time to choose a preference for a local pharmacy where they can pick up any prescriptions following the appointment. If you can’t get time off from work, school, or other responsibilities just to get your prescription refilled, telemedicine can swoop in and save the day. Every state has different laws governing what can be prescribed by a virtual doctor, so be sure to ask questions and look into the requirements of your own state before going this route.
Featured Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels