Imagine that it’s the middle of the night and you wake up with an itchy rash on your side. Your local urgent care centers are closed, but your situation is not an emergency that warrants a trip to the ER. You want relief from the itching and discomfort until you can get to your primary care doctor, but you’re not sure what to do.
In situations like this, telehealth can be a tremendous help. Telehealth allows people to have conversations with board-certified physicians using video technology. It was initially developed to help people in rural areas get access to physicians, but telehealth is now expanding to connect people in all areas with specialists and primary care doctors.
Telehealth can be an affordable alternative to some in-person visits for many patients. The average cost of a telehealth consultation is $20-$49, according to Blue Cross Blue Shield. The average doctor visit, by comparison, can cost hundreds of dollars without insurance. Even with insurance a doctor’s appointment can set a person back considerably after the copayment and coinsurance (if applicable) are factored in.
Telehealth may also help fill a void caused by declining numbers of doctors in the U.S. In 2015 America will have an estimated 63,000 fewer doctors than it needs, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. Increasing the availability of telehealth services may help get patients the services they need.
From the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, to advanced technology solutions like telehealth, the face of healthcare is evolving. To learn more about Covered California, and cost-sharing subsidies and tax breaks, call BenefitPackages today. Our agency has been helping individuals, families, seniors, and small businesses find affordable California health insurance plans for more than 20 years.