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Can Telemedicine Options Be Affordable?

By Alexi Alizadeh, founder, Adviise.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, telemedicine visits have been able to provide an increasing number of patients with virtual access to quality care without requiring in-person appointments.

However, many patients are still reluctant to accept telemedicine as an option, due to fears concerning out of pocket costs. Let us go over how telemedicine companies charge patients and the different ways that it can be the more affordable option.

How Telemedicine Companies Charge You

Paying Cash Per Visit

Several telemedicine companies ask patients to pay cash for each visit, which allows uninsured patients quick and easy access to healthcare professionals. A 2017 study shows that the average cost of a telemedicine visit is $79, compared to $149 for the average doctor’s office visit.

Paying Through Insurance

Many telemedicine companies work ‘one on one’ with doctors, who bill your telemedicine visit to your health insurance, providing an even more affordable option for many patients. As telemedicine becomes increasingly more popular, health insurance plans are starting to offer coverage for telemedicine visits on a more widespread basis. Your insurance may even cover medication prescribed to you by a telemedicine provider.

How Telemedicine Saves You Money

Eliminates Transportation Costs

An important way that telemedicine is more affordable than in-person visits is that virtual appointments eliminate the cost of transportation. With telemedicine, you can enjoy access to quality care without paying for public transportation, ride-sharing, gas or parking costs. This can be especially beneficial for families living in rural areas and forced to travel long distances to meet with their provider in person.

Eliminates Childcare Costs

Another factor making telemedicine more affordable is the elimination of childcare costs associated with a parent’s ‘in office visit’. Parents can attend a 15-20 minute virtual doctor’s appointment in the comfort of their own home, without the worry and expense of hiring a sitter for their children, traveling the 2-3 hours to and from their appointment, sitting in the waiting room, and time meeting with the doctor. 

More Affordable Than In-Person Visits

Even paying out of pocket for telemedicine appointments, they are still more affordable than in-person visits. The cost of a telemedicine session is not only less out of pocket but results in lower co-pays if your coverage is through insurance. Cost sharing will vary based on your insurance plan, but by and large insurers compensate providers for telemedicine but at lower rates, which translates into lower patient co-pays too.

Numerous follow-up appointments can rack up costly co-pays and transportation costs for such a short visit. With a quick telemedicine appointment, you can continue receiving quality care at an affordable price, right at home or work.

Telemedicine platforms offer the more affordable healthcare option for both the insured and uninsured, while also eliminating the costs associated with physical visits. Be sure to check out platforms like Adviise to find out how your insurance can help cover telemedicine visits. It is the modern doctor’s house call.

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