The nationwide COVID-19 pandemic has left most people are confined to their homes a lot more than they once were. One thing that many people have had to rethink is how they will receive medical care. With hospitals and doctors' offices being high-risk areas, a lot of us have begun to consider telemedicine as a solution for our routine medical needs.
However, like with all medical services, Various regulations exist that limit both how you can receive telemedicine care and how much your insurance will pay for it. Always check with your insurer beforehand to learn what you are expected to pay for a telemedicine visit.
What is telemedicine?
Telemedicine is a way that patients and doctors can connect via phone, video meeting or secure app from separate locations. Through telemedicine, patients might be able to:
· Receive routine screenings and checkups from their physician.
· Attend therapy sessions.
· Access urgent care needs that can be diagnosed remotely.
· Allow their physician to monitor their vital signs through wearable technology.
Given COVID-19's impact on social interactions, telemedicine has become a sought-after and practical way for Americans to continue to receive essential care without having to visit their physician in person. It is a trend that is expected to continue, even after COVID-19 ends.
How much will telemedicine cost me?
Most major health insurers cover telemedicine in some form. If they do, then you usually pay the same deductibles, copayments or coinsurance obligations as you would for any other physician service. Still, because of the unique nature of telemedicine, regulations might affect your own ability to receive this care and influence your cost obligations.
State laws on telemedicine vary:
· In some areas, a simple phone call with the doctor counts as a telemedicine visit. In others, you must visit with the doctor through a video service or an app.
· Some states require special licensing for a provider to offer telemedicine services.
· States also regulate how insurers reimburse physicians who offer telemedicine. This might change your out-of-pocket costs.
Still, keep in mind that due to COVID-19, many insurers have waived certain rules on telemedicine. However, other regulations might still apply:
· Some insurers only allow you to access an approved telemedicine physician or a specific telemedicine service. This might not be your regular doctor.
· You generally must see an in-network physician to receive covered care for your services.
· Out-of-pocket rates might vary for telemedicine and in-person visits.
If you have any questions about this coverage, first call your insurer. They can tell you how your specific plan covers telemedicine, and what restrictions or extra costs you might face in receiving care.