Telehealth Quickly Becoming Newest Medical Trend


The days of doctors regularly making house calls may no longer be a thing of the past.

Telehealth is becoming the latest trend in health care. The virtual health service allows you to “see” a doctor from the comfort of your own home for non-emergency medical services. While wait times for non-urgent medical issues in major cities can be anywhere from five days to two months, telehealth allows you to talk with a specialist in as little as 10 minutes.

Although it’s currently designed for dealing with relatively minor issues such as a sore throat or flu, Medicare could soon cover telehealth services for people with chronic conditions who need a regular follow-up. It’s already an ideal option for those whose chronic conditions make it difficult to see a doctor in person.

Depending on the service, you might be able to choose a doctor on the company’s roster. Others assign you to a physician, specialist or counselor depending on your needs. All healthcare professionals you’ll see are board certified and state-licensed.

In addition to primary care for minor health complaints, several telehealth services now include behavioral health counselors, including psychiatrists, for treating people with symptoms of depression and anxiety. Some also offer consultations with a specialist, nutritional counseling for those with diabetes or other chronic illnesses, and orders for diagnostic testing.

Even better is that more insurance companies, including United Health Care, Cigna and Aetna, are covering the cost. The cost of a visit typically runs from $35 to $50, possibly more, depending on consultation time. Some services also charge a monthly subscription fee.

Traditional Medicare only covers telehealth for seniors who live in remote rural areas, but several Medicare Advantage plans do cover it.