What is Telemedicine and How Can I Use It?

Telemedicine is a cost-effective and accessible option that involves electronic communication and software to provide clinical services to patients without an in-person visit. Many people opt for telemedicine because it can be done from the comfort of your own home or anywhere else like work, vacation, the park, etc. You do not have to bring yourself or your children in contact with illnesses that you may encounter at the doctor’s office. Moreover, every physician you see using telemedicine communications will be considered in network no matter where you are.

Physicians can prescribe certain medications through telemedicine, including medications for allergies, arthritic pain, asthma, bronchitis, colds and flu, diarrhea, infections, and insect bites. Regardless of location, your telemedicine doctor will be able to find the closest in-network pharmacy for you to pick up your medications.

Depending on the carrier, how telemedicine operates can vary. In most cases, you log into your carrier’s website, enter your member identification number, and answer any questions that your doctor may need to provide a diagnosis. Using your insurance carrier’s telemedicine services, you are able to speak with a physician in real time from one computer screen to another through a HIPAA compliant video conferencing tool. Most telemedicine options also allow you to take pictures of things so the doctors can review your case.

It is important to note that telemedicine is not an appropriate communication channel for all cases and conditions. Your physician will make a judgement call on the communication that will be most effective for you and your situation.

The cost of using telemedicine services will, depending on your carrier, often match what you would pay as copay for a normal doctor’s visit on your plan. If you have a Health Savings Account (HSA), the cost will be a lot less in most cases because there is set copay (which goes toward your deductible) for the visit.

Telemedicine might be a good option for you as we navigate the COVID-19 orders for social distancing. Contact your ARC representative today to learn more about your telemedicine options and how you can use it to your advantage.