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A Comprehensive Guide to Telehealth Services

Updated: Jun 25

A doctor using telehealth services to communicate with her patient through a laptop and demonstrating how to check her lymph nodes on her neck

Today, an increasing number of patients are skipping the doctor’s office for minor illnesses and acute medical needs and are opting to utilize telehealth services instead.

What is Telehealth?

Telehealth is the practice of receiving remote medical services from a healthcare provider through virtual means such as a phone or computer. Telehealth is used to consult, evaluate, diagnose conditions, and prescribe medication. Through video conferencing, medical providers can visually evaluate many concerns. Now, with the advancement of biometric technology, providers can even gather vital signs from the patient remotely without the need for a face-to-face office visit.

Who is Telehealth For, and Why?

Telehealth is essential for patients who experience barriers to receiving in-person healthcare. Originally, it was developed to provide basic care to rural and underserved patients. It has expanded to assist those with other barriers, such as transportation challenges, chronic health conditions, inability to take off work, and difficulty finding childcare, as well as those in areas where there are shortages of healthcare providers or specialists. Telehealth increases the availability of care to those who may otherwise go without.

Telehealth has become increasingly popular with the general population due to its convenience and cost savings. Patients can receive medical care from the comfort and privacy of their homes, and since telehealth eliminates unnecessary office visits, it can even reduce the spread of communicable illnesses in clinic settings. It is also beneficial for patients who opt to receive care from a specialist located outside of their area.

In general, costs for telehealth visits are less than in-person visits.

When is Telehealth Appropriate, and When is it Not?

While telehealth cannot replace necessary in-person healthcare, it is a viable alternative for minor illnesses and medical needs.

Services that can be provided via telehealth include:

  1. Acute minor illnesses such as upper respiratory infections or stomach aches

  2. Recurring conditions like migraines, strep throat, or urinary tract infections

  3. Follow-ups or monitoring of a patient following a procedure or prior visit

  4. Sharing of lab, x-ray, or other test results

  5. Skin conditions

  6. Chronic disease management

  7. Mental health therapy and counseling

  8. Prescription medication management

What telehealth cannot be used for:

  1. Potentially serious, life-threatening, or emergency medical needs

  2. Injuries that require stitches, imaging, casting, or surgery

  3. Comprehensive medical exams or complex issues

  4. Lab testing (blood drawing, urinalysis, etc.)

  5. Medical imaging (x-rays, CT scans, MRIs, ultrasounds, cancer screenings)

  6. Surgical procedures

  7. Serious mental health needs requiring inpatient care

At times, a doctor might recommend a patient seek in-person care if they feel that the issue is beyond the scope of telehealth services.

Is Telehealth Covered by My Insurance Policy?

Many health insurance plans cover some types of telehealth services. Each policy will have different benefits, and some may have limitations on what types of virtual care are covered. It is essential for patients to review and understand their plan coverages and whether or not telehealth services are included or if the provider they wish to receive services from is covered.

Many telehealth services are also covered by Medicare and Medicaid health plans, though again, coverage varies, and not all providers offer telehealth services.

The state medical board has regulations on how telehealth services are performed, including requirements of the technology used to deliver the services. In some states, laws require that insurance reimburse for telehealth services the same as it would for in-person care, but this is not the same in every state.

The Future of Telehealth

As digital communication and virtual interactions are becoming increasingly common, the utilization of telehealth is estimated to increase, especially as tech-centered generations come of age. While elderly patients traditionally are less likely to use telehealth services, they may be willing to adopt new forms of healthcare in exchange for comfort and convenience.

Over time, new regulations and ways to overcome the current challenges of virtual care will come into place. Telehealth will continue to extend much-needed healthcare availability to those who traditionally have experienced barriers.

Get Expert Guidance

If you find yourself with questions, uncertainties, or simply seeking guidance on how to make the most of these invaluable services, don’t hesitate to reach out.

LEB Insurance Group is a top health insurance agency in the United States with over 270 licensed agents nationwide. We offer health insurance, life insurance, supplemental coverage, and Medicare services. Learn more about your options and how we can help you by calling 920-215-5320 or completing this form.


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