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With concerns about keeping patients and staff safe during COVID-19, many medical practices and clinics are using virtual visits for things like:
Having stomach issues? A headache that won’t go away? A rash that concerns you? These are the types of things you may see a primary care doctor about. You would schedule a visit, then go to the office and spend 10-20 minutes talking with the doctor about your concerns. Your doctor may decide to have you try a certain medicine, give you medical advice, or send you for a test.
Your doctor may decide visits like these that don’t call for a hands-on exam can be done in a virtual visit setting. A virtual visit is also a good opportunity to talk to the doctor about what to do if you are experiencing depression, anxiety or other mental health issues.
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:
Other exams, like blood tests, vision and hearing tests, and imaging such as mammograms can be scheduled separately. The doctor can 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.
Diabetes, asthma, heart disease, cancer, depression. These and other chronic health issues need your attention every day, even during COVID-19. And since these conditions may mean you’re at higher risk of getting very ill if you catch the virus, it’s vital that you keep your appointments, follow doctor’s orders and work with your doctor if you have concerns.
Many doctors have shifted to virtual visits for their patients with chronic illnesses to keep them safe.
An added benefit to virtual visits is that you don’t have to arrange travel or time off from work or school.
Depending on your health plan’s benefits, you may be covered to see a doctor in your plan’s network by virtual visit.
Getting signed up for a virtual visit is easy:
Virtual visits are covered under many Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) PPO and HMO health care plans.
Some BCBSIL 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/BCBSIL to schedule a visit.
Originally published July 23, 2020, Revised 2021
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