CNBC recently aired this informative segment on the history, current demand and future of telemedicine:
Due to COVID19, telemedicine visits are surging with general visits projected to be 200 million this year. Before COVID19, the projection was 36 million telemedicine visits.
There may be a time when you have some questions and your doctor’s office is not open, accepting walk-in appointments or you prefer to stay in your home. If you are among the 66% of Americans cited in the 2019 study willing to try telemedicine, there are two options to consider:
- Check first with your Primary Care Provider regarding the availability and instructions of scheduling a telemedicine online appointment. I received an email from my PCP with instructions. I was thrilled as it was a convenient and safe way for me to discuss lab results with my doctor after the previously scheduled follow up office appointment was cancelled due to the COVID19 pandemic.
- When a primary card provider does not offer telemedicine, many clients turn to Third Party online telemedicine. Teledoc and AmericanWell (Amwell) are two of the more commonly used. Depending on your needs, your online visit may be with a physician, physician’s assistant or nurse.
Effective March 6, 2020, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a waiver permitting coverage for an expanded access to telehealth care. This applies to my clients who are covered under Original Medicare Parts A and B and a supplemental / Medigap plan.
This CMS waiver allowed Medicare Advantage (Part C) carriers to expand their telemedicine coverage and, in many cases, reducing or elimination copayments for an online appointment. In some cases, insured clients are encouraged to use the carrier’s selected telemedicine provider such as UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage telemedicine affiliation with Amwell
(Note: Not all medical conditions can be treated through virtual visits. The virtual visit doctor will identify if you need to see an in-person doctor for treatment.)