Did you know you can talk to doctor regardless of your location? It’s called “telehealth”– when your health care is delivered remotely. It could be done on your tablet or home computer and in some cases on your phone. Virtual appointments like this may be a covered benefit on your health insurance plan, and they give you access to doctors and other health care professionals. Check out this video to learn more.
We know health care is complex and ever-changing, so let us break it down for you. Stay relevant by watching other videos in our Blue Buzz series.
If you're like a lot of Americans you've probably struggled to find time to go to the doctor. I get it. It's hard to fit it into our busy schedules. A lot of people work 9 to 5 and most doctor's offices are open, well...9 to 5.Then there's COVID -19. It's had an impact on when we can go to the doctor or other health care professionals and if we even feel comfortable in their office. The problem is even worse in some rural areas. Imagine having to travel an hour each direction just to see a doctor or access any health care in general. That's the reality for some Texans.
Dr. Thankavel: Technology to the rescue.
Hilarie: Thanks Dr. T.
Dr. Thankavel: Are we good?
Hilarie: Yeah, we're good. Did you know you can talk to your doctor this way? It's called telehealth. When your health care is delivered remotely. It can be done on your tablet or home computer and in some cases on your phone. Virtual appointments like this may be a covered benefit on your health insurance plan. As the health care system continues to evolve more and more doctors and health care professionals are using telehealth services. For example, the COVID-19 pandemic led to shelter in place orders across Texas. That's when nearly three out of four Texas physicians started using telehealth tools. So, chances are your doctor may have recently gotten onboard. Thanks to telehealth, you can check another appointment off of your to-do list all while never leaving your couch or car or office. Mother of four? Don't haul all those kids to the doctor's office, phone it in! Many simple non-emergency health conditions can be addressed through an appointment on the phone online video or even a mobile app and digital prescriptions? Well those can be sent to the pharmacy of your choice. All those crazy wait times? Gone. New patients used to wait 24 days to see a doctor. Not anymore. Most people wait only 20 minutes for virtual care like this. Telehealth also gives you access to behavioral health services. You can talk to a family therapist or an addiction counselor.It's important because we know that one in five Americans experienced a mental health issue in any given year. Telehealth opens the doors to expanding those mental health care services to even more people. Now it's no secret that COVID-19 has changed almost everything in our lives. We're doing more online from working remotely to having video calls with our loved ones.Your doctor's office and other health careprofessionals might be closed for safety reasons or you might just not be comfortable venturing out into public yet. With telehealth, you can keep up with your regularly scheduled health care in this uncertain time. Including, well child visits and follow up appointments for stable chronic medical conditions. This is especially helpful for patients who might have a higher risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19.These folks need to stay home as much as possible. Fortunately, many Texans already have access to the telehealth services we've been talking about. If you're thinking "sign me up!" Well here's how. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas members can access telehealth through in-network providers who offer the service and that could be through phone or video consultations. You'll need to go to the provider's website or app to get started.Or maybe you're in a crunch and you're without a doctor and needing access to care quick. Check to see if virtual visits are included in your health insurance plan. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas as virtual visits are powered by MD Live.To find a doctor, just log in to Blue Access for Members. You can also use the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas app and click on "Find care in network."Worried about the security of these platforms? Well don't be. A lot of extra effort goes into securing your personal health information in these virtual settings. Now, it's important to note that not all health insurance plans are the same.Make sure to double check your benefits to see what's covered under your specific plan. If the letters TDI appear on the front of your I.D. card then you're in luck, telehealth is definitely covered. But don't worry, even if those three letters are missing you might still be in luck. Flip the card over. Call the number on the back and find out if your benefits include telehealth. Experts predict telehealth will be an essential tool of the future. It saves the entire healthcare system from unnecessary cost and it could cost you much less out of pocket. Sure, modern technology might have its’ downfalls but telehealth is an example of how it's helping bridge barriers and it's making life easier for all of us.
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