There’s nothing new about telehealth services. Medical professionals have been using video to communicate with patients for over 20 years. What is new is the current trend in telehealth services that have exploded over the last two years.
The main reason for the trend is the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the coronavirus caused many people to isolate themselves at home, doctors had to respond by offering consultations and appointments via video. As a result, many medical facilities have included telehealth as a part of their primary medical programs and services.
Below, we provide a quick guide on what telehealth is and if it is covered under your health insurance plan.
What Is Telehealth?
Telehealth is the use of computers and mobile devices to access health care services and communicate with health providers remotely while managing your healthcare accounts. You can access healthcare services from home or any other location, as long as you have technology capabilities.
Some examples of telehealth include
- Order medication
- Accessing medical data or your patient files
- Watching instructional medical videos
- Using an app related to your medical condition
- Meeting with a doctor or medical professional
- Getting notifications or email reminders
Four Main Types of Telehealth Services
Although many different varieties of telehealth services exist, there are four main categories.
1. Live Video-Conferencing
Video conferencing is a two-way video conference between a patient and their healthcare provider. This type of telehealth is widely used by everyone from physicians in local hospitals to providers who own their own private practice. Live video-conferencing brings healthcare to patients that don’t have as many healthcare options because of where they live.
2. Store-and-Forward Video
Asynchronous video is the electronic delivery documented health history. Commonly used in rural areas when providers are consulting with a specialist in another location, this type of telehealth also helps bring healthcare to areas where medical care may not be available.
3. Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM)
Often used for seniors or in senior living areas, remote patient monitoring is the collection of a patient’s health data from a patient or resident in one location that is then electronically sent to a healthcare professional (provider, nurse, etc.) for monitoring and review. RPM is especially helpful in senior living areas in order to prevent falls and keep a watchful eye on residents’ vitals.
4. Mobile Health (mHealth)
Mobile health is the use of smart devices (smartphones, tablets, etc.), and the health-based software apps developed for these devices, that supports continued healthcare. Many health-based apps exist now and can monitor everything from a diabetic patient’s blood sugar level to one’s daily water intake.
What Are the Benefits of Telehealth Services?
Telehealth services are designed to enhance the patient experience and make medical services more efficient. There are several practical benefits of telehealth services, including
- Make health care accessible to people who live in rural or isolated communities.
- Make services more readily available or convenient for people with limited mobility, time or transportation options.
- Provide access to medical specialists.
- Improve communication and coordination of care among members of a health care team and a patient.
- Provide support for self-management of health care.
Does Health Insurance Cover Telehealth Services?
Most insurance providers cover at least some form of telehealth service. Contact the insurance providers you accept to see if they cover reimbursement for any telehealth services. Keep in mind that many states have strict guidelines that enforce health insurance companies to provide coverage for telelheallth visits.
Currently, patients may use telecommunication technology in place of office or hospital visits and other services that generally occur in-person. These include virtual check-ins with your practitioner using phone services or other devices and e-visits via an online patient portal.
With a telehealth visit, you’ll likely have to cover a co-payment, because medical facilities view telehealth appointments as if they were regular in-house appointments.
Contact Insurance Enterprise for Premier Health Insurance
If you have questions about group or individual health insurance and need health insurance quotes, contact Insurance Enterprise at 888-350-6605. Speak to a licensed agent and find out more about how you can get an affordable health insurance plan.