This post is by Bernie Carr,
Part of being prepared is taking care of medical issues as soon as possible. A lot of people put off consulting with a doctor because they are worried about the cost and the time commitment involved. But there is now an option that eases those hurdles. Today I’d like to talk about a healthcare option that is gaining popularity: the virtual doctor visit, also known as telemedicine. I was intrigued when I found out my insurance announced they now cover doctor’s appointments via the internet. This past week, I actually tried it.
How does it work?
You can see a doctor online for non-emergency conditions such as:
- sinus infection
- urinary tract infection
- headache or migraine
- diarrhea or vomiting
- back pain
All you need is a computer, tablet or mobile device. Your device should have a camera, so you can see the doctor face to face.
Before getting started, have your insurance card, if you have one, as well as your credit or debit card for payment. You should also have your local pharmacy name, address and phone number, as this will be needed if the doctor were to prescribe medication.
First, you create an account. You’ll need an email address, login name and password. Next, you call the 800 number and describe your issue. You will need to download their app. Through the app, you are then connected to a doctor. Just like a regular doctor’s visit, you describe your symptoms, the physician asks you questions then makes a diagnosis. Most online visits take about 10-15 minutes
The doctor then does the paperwork which included writing the prescription and sending it to your local pharmacy. Within an hour after the visit, I checked with the pharmacy and they were already working on filling the prescription. With the discharge paperwork, I also got a doctor’s note and a release to go back to work.
What about price?
I can tell you the online visit costed much less than a regular in-person appointment. For the one I used, it was $49, compared to $90 which the same visit costed me the last time I went to the clinic. I have not met my deductible for the year, so I appreciated the lower cost.
Even if you don’t have insurance, many telemedicine providers have a fixed rate of around $45-&75.
Conditions that are not appropriate for a virtual visit
Don’t try seeing a doctor online for conditions that require immediate medical assistance such as:
- Wounds and lacerations
- Chest pain
- Bad burns
- Broken bones
- Fainting or loss of consciousness
- Children’s ear infection
- Brain or spinal cord injuries
It is not meant to replace going to the doctor for an annual checkup or consult for more complex conditions; telemedicine is a way to quickly get seen for simple, minor conditions that need a doctor’s diagnosis and possibly a prescription.
You can’t beat the convenience of being able to see a doctor wherever you are. It’s also good to have if you are traveling, whether on vacation or on a business trip. You won’t be exposed to anyone else’s germs while sitting in the waiting room. Finally, I thought it was a good value and got great results. From an emergency preparedness perspective, I think it is a great option to have, as they are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All in all I was pleased with the online doctor visit.
About the author:
Bernie Carr is the founder of Apartment Prepper. She has written several books including the best-selling Prepper’s Pocket Guide, Jake and Miller’s Big Adventure, The Penny-Pinching Prepper and How to Prepare for Most Emergencies on a $50 a Month Budget. Her work appears in sites such as the Allstate Blog and Clark.com, as well as print magazines such as Backwoods Survival Guide and Prepper Survival Guide. She has been featured in national publications such as Fox Business and Popular Mechanics. Learn more about Bernie here.