Skye likes writing about mental health, nutrition, and wellness. She is passionate about sharing information that will educate, and positively affect people's lives.
Dr. Aaron Wiegmann
Dr. Wiegmann earned his medical degree (M.D.) from Rush Medical College and completed his General Surgery residency at Rush University Medical Center and Cook County Hospital. He has a Master's Degree (M.S.) in clinical research and has published numerous peer-reviewed articles.
April 8, 2021
Telehealth, or virtual medicine, is a service allowing you to communicate with your doctor over the phone or the internet. It may be via a phone call or video chat. During the visit, you will be able to ask questions and share symptoms with your doctor, just like a normal in-person visit. Your doctor may ask you to schedule an in-person appointment if your situation requires an exam or lab work.
Many conditions do not require your doctor to do anything other than speaking with you to diagnose and receive treatment. Due to the increased personal and public health risks associated with COVID-19, seeing your doctor virtually will keep both you and your doctor safe while you still receive high-quality treatment.
The CDC regards telemedicine as a safe alternative to in-person medicine, claiming that telemedicine can “decrease your contact with healthcare facilities, other patients, and healthcare staff in order to reduce the risk of COVID-19 and keep you and your family healthy.”
EverydayDr recommends PlushCare for all your telehealth needs. Their doctors are experienced and caring, most have over 15 years of experience. You can book a same-day appointment with PlushCare here and be talking to a doctor online in as little as 15 minutes.
A patient portal is a secure website that hosts patient information. A patient portal might contain lab results, vaccine history, a chat function with your healthcare team, and an appointment scheduling function.
Portals provide patients with an overview of their healthcare conditions and treatment plan over time without having to call the doctor’s office to ask for information. Telehealth and patient portals work hand in hand. Information gathered during the appointment is added to the patient portal. A typical patient portal used by many doctor’s offices is My Chart.
Medicare does cover telehealth. According to medicare.gov, telehealth services are provided at a cost to you of 20% of the Medicare-approved amount, after meeting your deductible.
The amount is the same as if you went for an in-person visit with the same restrictions on treatments covered. You still pay the same monthly premium based on your income and are subject to the standard deductible.
Covid-19 has highlighted the importance of access to telehealth as virtual visits eliminate the possibility of virus spread. The CDC recommends using telehealth services when available. Some conditions may require in-person visits. For example, your doctor may request some blood work requiring an in-person visit to a lab.
For in-person visits, individuals should follow local health guidelines such as wearing masks and social distancing. Telehealth eliminates the risk of the virus spreading in confined spaces such as the waiting room. Perhaps more importantly, it reduces the risk of your doctors and nurses being exposed to COVID-19, allowing them to continue caring for their other patients.
Telehealth can be used for many types of appointments, such as follow-ups or referral requests. Virtual telehealth visits do not require traveling to the doctor’s office, providing additional savings on transportation.
The best way to avoid the inconvenience and risk of COVID-19 infection is to avoid getting it in the first place. While a visit to your local doctor’s office is likely less dangerous than going to another crowded public place, telehealth eliminates the risk while still receiving the same high-quality treatment you would expect in person at a doctor’s office.
Prescriptions can be sent to the pharmacy of your choosing by your doctor, including online pharmacies that ship drugs to your home address. Some drugs, such as certain painkillers and ADHD medications, require visiting an in-person pharmacy.
Online prescribing is used to eliminate in-person interactions for services such as antidepressant treatment follow-ups and picking up medication.
Prescription drugs are covered under Medicare Part D. The copay should be the same whether you order it or pick it up in person. Some online pharmacies may charge an additional amount for shipping. Typically this shipping cost is not covered by Medicare Part D or other prescription drug plans.
Not always, there are some things that Medicare does not cover. Original Medicare includes Medicare Part A, which covers hospital charges, and Part B, which covers most other medical costs.
Medicare covers many components of COVID-19 testing and treatment but may not cover the complete treatment plan your doctor recommends. Having additional prescription coverage reduces the sticker shock of receiving lifesaving drugs.
Medicare Part B covers additional services, not covered by Medicare alone. These include:
Medicare Part D is the prescription drug plan for medicare. Medicare Parts A and B cover medical treatments and hospitalization, but not prescription drugs. Medicare Part D requires you to opt-in and pay an additional premium to receive coverage.
According to medicare.gov:
According to medicare.gov, COVID vaccines will be provided with no out-of-pocket costs. Currently, this includes vaccines by Pfizer and Moderna and will expand to include other vaccines as the FDA gives them Emergency Use Authorization. Any vaccine approved by the FDA must receive the same rigorous testing and analysis before being released to the general public.
While these vaccines may differ in the level of protection provided, they all offer a significant protection level and reduce the likelihood you will become seriously ill from viral infection.
It is in Medicare’s best interest to provide coverage for vaccines that don’t produce long-term side effects, as they will have to provide coverage for additional medical treatment down the line. In other words, these vaccines must be proven to be safe and effective before being administered to the public.
Some vaccines may require more than one shot requiring a return visit. It is typically recommended to return to the same location where you received the first dose.
With our partners at PlushCare, you can make a telehealth appointment for effective and affordable medical care. PlushCare offers online same-day appointments, available 7 days a week, that you can make in just 15 minutes.
If you need to talk to a doctor, but don’t want to leave your home, you can make an appointment with one of PlushCare’s licensed doctors here.
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