Certain Medicare plans cover a variety of telemedicine services. General covered services include: office visits, psychotherapy, consultations, and certain other medical or health services. These services are provided by an eligible provider using technology, like a phone or computer.
Ten helpful tips for making the most of your telehealth visit
A little preparation goes a long way. Making the move from in-person doctor visits to telehealth appointments—even temporarily—can be intimidating. Here’s some practical advice to help get you started.
- Telehealth visits are scheduled just like in-person appointments. You’ll need to call your healthcare provider to set up a specific time for your phone call or video chat. If you don’t have a regular doctor, or if your doctor doesn’t offer telehealth visits, call the customer care number on the back of your INSURANCE member ID card. THEY WILL help you find a telehealth provider.
- To be able to see and hear your healthcare provider, you’ll need a smartphone, a tablet or a computer that is connected to the internet. If you’re new to video chatting, consider a practice run with a friend or family member so you’re comfortable with the equipment. Pay close attention to which internet browser you are using.
- Using headphones or ear buds instead of your device’s microphone and speaker will offer better sound clarity—and more privacy if there are other people in your household.
- Be prepared with a list of prescriptions, over-the-counter medicines or supplements you’re currently taking. If you have a pharmacy you like to use, have the name and address handy in case your healthcare provider suggests prescription medication.
- You’ll also want to have your INSURANCE member ID card on hand.
- While not required, if you have a thermometer, bathroom scale, or blood-pressure monitor at home, you may want to have them handy. Likewise, if you have diabetes and use a glucometer, you may want to keep that close by as well during your telehealth visit.
- It’s a good idea to make some notes about your symptoms or concerns before your call begins so you don’t forget to mention anything. Be ready to tell your doctor or nurse practitioner exactly what you’re experiencing. (For routine issues like prescription refills, record requests or bill payment, a telehealth visit is not required. Simply call your provider’s office to get the help you need.)
- If you’re dealing with an injury, rash or other visible issue, take a picture of it to share with your telehealth provider via email.
- Be punctual—ready to answer your provider’s call at the scheduled time. And start by asking what to do if you become disconnected during your visit.
- Always remember that in the event of a true emergency like chest pain, breathing trouble or another major health event, call 911!