Remote Healthcare Can Spare You In-Person Visits During COVID-19
Long before anyone heard of coronavirus, patients seeking healthcare in Arizona could use remote healthcare to speak with a doctor, nurse, or other practitioners. Also called telemedicine, telehealth and virtual healthcare, remote healthcare allows patients to consult with physicians and other healthcare providers by phone or videoconference without the need for an in-person visit.
With the COVID-19 pandemic making every trip from home seem like you are taking chances with your life, the ability to get medical advice and treatment without leaving home is more critical than ever.
Of course, doctors can’t diagnose or treat every illness, condition, or injury remotely. Patients can’t get CAT-scans or undergo open-heart surgery through Zoom or on the phone. However, for the many minor medical issues that all of us face from time to time, remote healthcare provides a safe and reliable way to get medical attention in Arizona without the need to sit in a crowded waiting room or overwhelmed ER.
Fortunately, most group health insurance plans in Arizona recognize the importance, usefulness, and efficiency of telemedicine during these uncertain times. As such, the vast majority of group healthcare plans in Arizona provide telehealth options and coverage for remote healthcare consultations and treatment.
State governments also understand telehealth’s critical benefits and the role that remote healthcare can play in keeping patients and healthcare workers safe. In Arizona, Gov. Doug Ducey’s March 11, 2020, Executive Order noted that “visits by telemedicine can reduce the spread of disease by allowing potentially contagious patients to see a doctor without visiting an office, clinic, urgent care center, or hospital where other individuals could be exposed.”
As such, the order directs the Arizona Department of Health Services, in conjunction with the Department of Insurance, to “require that all insurers regulated by the State cover telemedicine visits at a lower cost-sharing point for consumers than the same in-office service…”
Remote Healthcare Services Likely Available and Covered Under Your Group Plan For Healthcare in Arizona
If you have coverage through an Arizona group health plan, you should look at your plan documents and see what they say about telehealth services and coverage. Most group policies will include some or all of the following telemedicine alternatives for healthcare in Arizona: virtual visits, chatlines, and DispatchHealth visits.
During a virtual visit, a doctor, nurse, or other healthcare professionals can evaluate, diagnose, recommend courses of treatment, and issue prescriptions for many common health problems. This can include relatively minor issues such as pink eye, strep throat, rashes, stomach issues, and allergic reactions. You can visit with a physician while sitting in front of your computer, and your plan may cover your session at no cost to you.
With a virtual visit, you can get the guidance and medical care you need for many health concerns without the inconvenient and risky trip you don’t.
Medical chatlines, like virtual visits, provide patients with the opportunity to ask questions and get live answers from a medical practitioner in an “instant messaging” format without ever leaving home. These chatlines look like those you see on other websites.
Many Arizona group insurance plans cover and encourage the use of chatlines by their members and may cover the costs of chats at 100%. Check your plan’s Summary Of Benefits and Coverage to understand how your insurer handles and includes medical chatlines.
As noted, virtual visits, chatlines, or other telehealth services are not suited for every type of medical problem. If you need an in-person visit with a medical professional for your health issue, you can get one in your home through DispatchHealth.
DispatchHealth is a program that brings licensed healthcare practitioners directly to you. You can arrange for a visit through the DispatchHealth app, on their website, or on a brief phone call. A board-certified medical team will then come to your house along with all of the diagnostic and other tools needed for your care. With DispatchHealth, you can get necessary medical help without the worry and risks of a visit to your doctor’s office, an emergency room, or an urgent care clinic.
Since almost every major group health insurance carrier in Arizona has a contract with the program, DispatchHealth may already be part of your plan for healthcare in Arizona. A DispatchHealth visit will most likely cost you the same amount as an urgent care copayment.
There are urgent care locations throughout Arizona that can handle most minor health concerns if you can’t avail yourself of the at-home options described above. Most Arizona group insurance plans cover urgent care visits with a copayment or apply any of the costs of urgent care services towards your plan deductible.
Make Sure You Have The Best Healthcare in Arizona During COVID-19
We are living through difficult and scary times. Anderson Insurance Services, an experienced Arizona small business health insurance broker, remains committed to answering your questions, addressing your concerns, and providing solutions that can keep you and your workforce safe and healthy. In response to COVID-19, we have ensured that we can handle quotes and enrollment via video conferencing, telephone, and email.
Contact us to schedule a free consultation about your small business or individual health insurance needs.