Keep Health Issues in Check with Virtual Visits

Keep Health Issues in Check with Virtual Visits

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Does your health plan offer virtual visits with doctors in your plan’s network? Now's a good time to check. It may be just what you need to stay on top of your health.

During the pandemic, more health care facilities turned to virtual visits to help keep patients and staff safe. Now that the COVID-19 emergency is over, virtual visits are still a good option for things like:

  • New health concerns
  • Annual exams
  • Routine check-ins on health issues
When There’s a Problem

Having stomach issues? A headache that won’t go away? A rash that concerns you? These are the types of issues you may see a primary care doctor about. But to do so, you have to schedule a visit, go to the office, and then spend 10 to 20 minutes talking about your concerns. A hands-on exam may not be necessary. Instead, your doctor may simply offer helpful medical advice, prescribe a medicine or send you for a test. 

This is the type of visit that can often be handled just as well with a virtual visit. A virtual visit is also a good opportunity to talk to with your doctor if you are experiencing depression, anxiety or other mental health issues.

Annual Exams

Some primary care doctors, pediatricians and women’s health providers may also choose to do annual exams using virtual visits. These visits play a big role in catching small health problems before they become big ones.

Doctors are finding that much of what they do in your yearly checkup can be done virtually:

  • Review your health and family history
  • Update a list of your current medications
  • Talk about your lifestyle
  • Discuss tobacco and alcohol use, diet and sleep habits

Other exams and tests can be scheduled separately. Blood tests, vision and hearing exams and imaging like mammograms are good examples. Your doctor can also send prescriptions directly to your pharmacy.

As always, an annual exam is covered at no cost to you if you see a provider in your health plan’s network.

Condition Check-ins

Chronic health conditions like diabetes, asthma, heart disease and cancer need your attention every day. Since these conditions can also boost your risk of getting very ill if you catch COVID-19, it’s vital that you keep your appointments, follow doctor’s instructions and let your care provider know if you have concerns.

Many doctors have shifted to virtual visits for their patients with chronic illnesses to keep them safe. An added benefit of virtual visits is that you don’t have to arrange travel or time off from work or school.

How Virtual Doctor Visits Work

Depending on your health plan’s benefits, a virtual visit with a doctor in your plan’s network may be covered.

Signing up for a virtual visit is easy:

  1. Make sure you have internet access and a smartphone, tablet or computer with a built-in or attached camera.
  2. Call your doctor’s office to ask about virtual visits and schedule an appointment. Be sure to ask if they are in your health plan’s network.
  3. You may need to handle paperwork and any payment before the call, either online or by email.
  4. When it’s time for your appointment, follow the instructions from the doctor’s office on how to connect with your doctor.
Virtual Visits

Virtual visits are covered under many Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma (BCBSOK) PPO and HMO health care plans. 

Some BCBSOK health plans also include access to Virtual Visits, powered by MDLIVE®. This service gives you access to board-certified doctors and licensed behavioral health therapists for many non-emergency health situations, including condition management for chronic health problems. Log in to Blue Access for MembersSM to see if you have this benefit and to register with MDLive. Then go to MDLIVE.com/BCBSOK  to schedule a visit.

Source: People Who Are at Higher Risk for Severe Illness,   Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020;

Originally published July 23, 2020, Revised 2021, 2022

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