Staying well with telehealth
Like many us of who are currently staying at home, you might be experiencing unprecedented challenges –from homeschooling your children, juggling conference calls with roommates, to finding creative ways to exercise indoors.
Another issue? Quickly getting in touch with your doctor for medical concerns.
The good news is that despite shelter-in-place ordinances, you can still connect with a medical provider when you need to. Along with emailing or calling your provider directly, you can also use telehealth services to get medical advice and address a variety of non-emergency medical issues.
What is telehealth?
Telehealth is the use of technologies that help increase access to care. By using digital tools to provide online, video, or telephone services, providers can continue to care for patients and ensure they receive proper medical attention. It’s important to note that not everyone should use telehealth services as their first line of defense, even when sheltering-in-place.
High-risk populations such as individuals with chronic condition, or immunocompromised systems may need to prioritize seeing their doctor for specific in-person evaluations. Additionally, if you are experiencing an urgent medical emergency always dial 9-1-1 for immediate assistance.
When to consider using telehealth
Ever wake up in the middle of the night with a sore throat but decided to wait until morning to call your doctor, only to find that your symptoms have worsened? With telehealth services, you can promptly get care and have your questions answered without having to wait for an increase in illness or discomfort.
This is especially important if you think you may be experiencing COVID-19 related symptoms. A virtual visit can help you determine if your condition is indicative of the virus without having to go out in public and risk transmission.
In short, telehealth services are a good alternative when you have mild, non-emergency symptoms or non-urgent requests.
What are some telehealth options?
Teladoc, as the name suggests, is a service offering convenient access to a board-certified, licensed doctor. Individuals can access this service 24/7 and doctors can give consultations by phone or video to treat non-emergency medical issues and prescribe medications. Depending on the health plan, Blue Shield of California members have access to Teladoc along with other various programs.
Nurse Help 24/7SM is another telehealth service that connects you with a registered nurse. Although nurses cannot diagnose you or prescribe medications, they can speak with you about symptoms you’re experiencing and can recommend whether you should schedule a consultation with a doctor. Depending on plan benefits, Nurse Help 24/7 is available for eligible Blue Shield of California members at no additional cost.
To ensure members have access to care, Blue Shield will waive out-of-pocket costs for copays, coinsurance, and deductibles for COVID-19 screenings performed virtually using telehealth, as well as screenings in a doctor’s office, urgent care, or emergency room. We will waive these costs through May 31, 2020.
For members who usually have Teladoc copays or coinsurance, we are waiving these costs for all Teladoc virtual care visits through May 31, 2020, including visits that aren’t related to COVID-19. Visit our COVID-19 site for the latest information on waived fees and other care options.