Everything you need to know about Telemedicine during Coronavirus pandemic
Due to the novel coronavirus, many doctor’s offices are only available for emergency care, and are closed temporarily or indefinitely. If you still need care and are unable to make an appointment with your doctors office, there is still a way to see your doctor through telemedicine.
Free phone hotlines
Your health insurance provider may offer a free hotline that you can use to call a nurse. If you have any general questions about your health, the nurses on these hotlines can provide you with answers to most of your questions. They will be able to tell you what to do next if you are ill and recommend that you visit a health care professional or emergency care if need be.
These 24/7 hotlines are great for questions about:
- Symptoms you are experiencing
- Medications and side effects
- Reliable self-care home treatments
- When to go to a doctor
- When to go to an emergency room
Because of the pandemic, many health insurance companies are waiving the cost of primary care visits. There are some of these health insurance providers that are even extending the kind of coverage they provide for telehealth services. It is best that you call your insurance provider to confirm exact details about telehealth and whether they currently provide coverage for it.
What to do if you are uninsured
If you do not have health insurance, there are still some forms of telemedicine that are available. Web applications like PP direct app or Nurx offer things like contraception counseling and prescribing and dispensing. With insurance coverage most of these platforms are free. Without insurance you can expect to pay as little as $15-$25 per service or medication using these tools. Teladoc is another service that can be used for general care at $49 per visit.
If you are uninsured you may also consider looking into thes insurance options:
- Marketplace/Obamacare plan
Medicare part B now allows access to telehealth coverage. Because of the novel coronavirus changes have been made to include coverage for telehealth. These visits get billed like a regular doctor’s office visit so there may be co-insurance that you will need to pay first. Many individual care providers are reducing or waiving the regular fees and co insurance rates due to the global pandemic as well.
The following kinds of providers may be providing covered telehealth services to Medicare part B beneficiaries:
- Nurse practitioners
- Physician assistants
- Licensed clinical social workers, in some circumstances
- Clinical psychologists, in some circumstances
- Physical therapists
- Occupational therapists
- Speech language pathologists