Needing a health care crisis of biblical proportions to finally awake to its full potential, Telehealth in the form of commercially distributed Telemedicine has finally arrived.
Healthcare consumers are asking daily about safe and efficient ways to continue to receive basic health care and frankly, there are very few ways to do so while maintaining the safe distances required by common sense and government mandate. If one shining star has emerged from the pandemic, it is surely Telemedicine.
Not All of These Services Are Created and Delivered Equally
By researching these plans, we have found a significant difference in cost and philosophy, particularly when it comes to the cost of actually interacting with your (telephonic or online) doctor. As an example, one plan we researched allowed the entire family to access the service, without limit for exactly zero ($0) cost per encounter, while another, seemingly offering the exact same service, charged upwards of $70 per encounter. Most plans we researched did charge some amount per encounter, the average was between $25 and $50 per consult, with a very few charging nothing, however, this seems to be a growing trend.
What Are Some Obvious Advantages in These Plans?
- Consistent with device-driven social media trends, particularly among GenX and Millennials.
- Alternatives to the emergency room or urgent care center
- Medical consultation after hours, nights, weekends and even holidays
- Physicians who are always available weekends and holidays
- Faster and more convenient prescriptions (when appropriate)*
- Medical care during business trips and vacations
*Only non-controlled substances (Non-DEA Controlled)
What can be treated?
• Ear Problems
• Insect Bites
• Pink Eye
• Respiratory Problems
• Sore Throats
• Urinary problems/UTI
What Other Services Are Available through Telemedicine?
One of the big surprises for us was the availability of Behavioral services. It seems the C-19 crisis and home lockdown orders have caused more than a little anxiety in our communities.
Plan Costs and Availability
Most commercial health insurance plans include Telemedicine, replacing the old and outdated Nurseline programs. If the plan is part of your benefits, the cost is generally included. For small groups or individuals, price varies from as low as $5 per member per month to as high as $15 to $20 and you may have to pay extra to include your spouse and children (note, you should not have to and these plans are unreasonably priced) We strongly recommend staying away from plans that charge any sort of per encounter consulting fee, The no-cost consult plans are a little harder to find, but worth looking for.
Example of a top-rated FREE access plan: www.freeaccess247.com