3 tips that may help make the most of telehealth

When a health issue arises, it can be difficult to find the time or energy to schedule an in-person appointment or drive to your nearest medical facility, especially when you’re not feeling well.

Connecting with a doctor virtually, in the comfort of your home, may help you access care faster, while helping you save time and money.

Virtual visits may often last less than 20 minutes and connect you with a doctor on demand, almost anywhere and anytime.

For eligible fully insured health plans, UnitedHealthcare will eliminate member cost sharing (copay, deductible and coinsurance) for 24/7 Virtual Visits, to help make access to non-emergency medical care more affordable.1 Starting July 1 through at least the end of plan year 2024, eligible newly enrolled UnitedHealthcare members, or upon renewal in applicable fully insured employer-sponsored health plans, will pay $0 out of pocket for 24/7 Virtual Visits. These Virtual Visits can connect you to a doctor by video or phone to help diagnose and treat a range of health conditions including medication prescribing, if permitted.2

Virtual visits may offer help for many of the same conditions as an ER or urgent care. At the same time, this technology may help you avoid long wait times, skip travel hassles and gain flexibility, particularly at night or on weekends when many primary care providers are unavailable. Plus, when it comes to quality, a recent study found telehealth performed better or equal to in-person visits in the majority of cases.

To help take advantage of this technology, consider these three tips:

1. Identify available resources

If you don’t know if you have access to telehealth, check with your health plan or employer. More employers are seeing the value of offering some type of virtual care option to their employees since the accelerated need during the pandemic. Medicare Advantage plans may also offer coverage for telehealth resources.

2. Understand when telehealth may be appropriate

Virtual visits are most widely used to address minor and non-emergency medical conditions, including allergies, seasonal flu, COVID-19, pink eye, rashes and more. If you experience a significant medical issue like chest pain or major burns, you should go to the emergency room.

More broadly, telehealth is also emerging as a helpful resource for behavioral health services, which may offer shorter wait times and more privacy for people seeking this type of care. Telehealth is also being used for primary care, specialty care and even dental and vision care.

3. Use your connected devices

You can consider other types of technology that may help improve your well-being and more effectively collaborate with your health care provider. These range from smartwatches and electronic thermometers to continuous blood glucose monitors and connected asthma inhalers. These health care related technology devices may provide important health information and offer actionable feedback to you and your health care provider, including for review during virtual or in-person appointments.

Next time you’re hit with a bug or other minor medical issues, see if a virtual visit may work. For help, review this checklist to prepare for your next telehealth visit. Taking advantage of this type of care may help get you on the path to recovery faster by saving you time — and money.

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