Sick But Want To Avoid The Doctor's Office? How To Get A House Call In The Time Of COVID-19..

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Sick But Want To Avoid The Doctor's Office? How To Get A House Call In The Time Of COVID-19.

Your regular doctor. Even though only a quarter of doctors say they’re using tools like video visits, according to a recent survey by the American Medical Association, many communicate with patients via email and telephone, especially for follow-up care.

Even if your doctors don’t typically use telemedicine, they may start using it now or be employing it in the near future: An additional 20 percent of physicians says they are planning to adopt telemedicine within the next year, according to the AMA survey.

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Your health insurer. You may have access to at-home healthcare through your health insurance. Nearly 9 out of 10 employers with 500 or more workers that provide health insurance have a telemedicine program.

Insurers typically partner with outside vendors such as Teladoc Health, a network of primary care physicians who diagnose routine, non-emergency medical problems via the telephone or video. They can also prescribe medications, send your records to your regular doctor, and make referrals, and are available around the clock seven days a week.

Right now, Teladoc and other telehealth companies are touting themselves as a first stop for coronavirus information, and sometimes other resources as well. Amwell, another telemedicine company that often works with employers and health insurance plans, for instance, now has an infection control officer on call at all times.

Without insurance, many of these telemedicine services charge a flat fee. Amwell, for example, charges $69 for an online urgent care visit and can provide prescriptions and recommendations for in-person follow-ups with specialists. MDLive urgent care consultations are $75 without insurance.

Local urgent care and walk-in retail clinics. An increasing number of these kinds of facilities, which may be freestanding or located in or next to chain pharmacies or big box stores, are offering video consults that allow you to get in touch with a healthcare provider quickly.

CVS, for example, which operates more than 1,000 MinuteClinic inside its stores, has video visits 24/7 for $59. These visits aren’t covered by insurance, but you can pay for them with money from a flexible spending account or health savings account, if you have one.

Through Westmed, a chain of urgent care clinics in New York and Connecticut, you can get a virtual phone or video consult between 9 a.M. And 6 p.M. Monday through Friday. Westmed takes insurance and charges $49 for those without coverage.

House calls on demand. The old-fashioned house call is making a comeback, fueled by advances like portable X-ray machines and apps that can make your cell phone function like an ultrasound machine. This option may be especially useful for people who are too ill to get to a doctor, and currently, those who are quarantined at home.

The on-demand house call company Heal, which promises to get a healthcare provider to your home within a few hours from 8 a.M. To 8 p.M. Seven days a week, has seen an uptick in calls for its services as the coronavirus outbreak unfolds, according to CEO Nick Desai. While Heal’s doctors can’t test for COVID-19, they can refer symptomatic patients to state and federal health officials. Heal, which operates in more than a dozen cities, accepts many insurance plans, but if yours isn’t covered, the cost is $159.

Remedy, another on-demand house call service, says it will send a healthcare provider to your home within 2 hours. It takes insurance, but if you don’t have coverage, it charges $199 for a house call.

High-tech healthcare hybrids. A growing number of technology companies moving into the healthcare space offer both virtual and in-person care. These hybrids are mainly in major metropolitan areas, and some are still small.

Forward, for example, which launched in 2016, is based in San Francisco and also has several locations in Southern California, New York City, and Washington, D.C. It doesn’t accept insurance, instead charging a $149-per-month fee for 24/7 remote access to its doctors, as well as unlimited in-person doctor visits.

One Medical, a network of primary clinic providers that offers virtual and in-person care, is larger, with 70 clinics in nine cities. It accepts insurance but charges a $199 fee on top of that to use its services. It also has relationships with 6,000 employers who cover the membership fee for workers. Carbon Health, which is based in California, accepts many insurance plans and also offers a virtual visit for a $49 flat fee.

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