Healthcare Money Saver Alert: Telemedicine

Most individuals have been sick enough to know when they need medical attention to get relief. However, in many instances, they can feel too crummy to pick themselves off the couch, get dressed, drive to an urgent care clinic and wait for more than one hour to see a physician.

Wouldn’t a house call from a doctor be the better solution?

Modern day house calls do exist, and are a fraction of the cost of a regular urgent care visit. What is known in the medical industry as “telemedicine” or “telehealth” is becoming wildly popular across the U.S. because of its ease and affordability. With technology advances, seeing a doctor face-to-face, while in completely different locations is no different than calling or texting a friend from a mobile device or through a computer.

Telemedicine connectivity differs by company. Some strictly use telephone consultations for diagnosis, while others use video chat so doctors can speak face-to-face with patients, and get a visual of facial expressions, mood, behavior or topical issues. Providers can diagnose, treat and even write prescriptions for most non-emergency medical conditions, allowing ill patients to skip the urgent care visit – all for an average of $40. Considering the average cost of a doctor office visit in the U.S. is $180, the cost savings are substantial.

In today’s healthcare marketplace, health insurance deductibles are rising year after year, moving more medical costs to individuals to keep monthly insurance premiums lower. The average family deductible is currently $3,456 each year, but some families have even higher deductibles. If a family has several children or an adult that is prone to sickness, regular office or urgent care visits stack up quickly, and are most likely paid out of the family’s pocket because they are responsible for the first $3,456 of medical expenses themselves. This is when telemedicine can be a financial lifesaver.

The American Telemedicine Association has documented that telehealth began 40 years ago, when healthcare was brought to individuals living in distant locations away from any medical facility. Today telemedicine continues to make big strides in rural communities where doctors are more scarce and urgent care clinics are more than a 30 minute drive away. And telemedicine is achieving monumental gains in metropolitan cities as well.

When an individual purchases a short term health insurance or supplemental health insurance plan from Pivot Health, every family member receives access to Doctor on Demand, a video consultation telemedicine service. Physicians with Doctor on Demand can treat the most common non-emergency issues, and also offer depression, relationship and anxiety counseling.

If you haven’t thought about telemedicine as a treatment option for yourself or your family, you are missing out on an affordable medical service, with personalized care – on your schedule.