There is no question the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we live our lives. Trips to the grocery store, visits with friends and family, and our daily work life has been disrupted. While many things have changed this year, it’s more important than ever to prioritize our health. Just because much of the world is shut down, it does not mean you have to forego certain medical care. Thanks to technology, there are many conveniences that help us continue with our lives while staying socially distant. One convenience is telemedicine.
What is telemedicine?
Telemedicine and telehealth involve the use of technology for healthcare that allows patients to videoconference with doctors or other licensed healthcare providers with their smartphone or home computers. The use of telehealth services has increased since the COVID-19 pandemic and many are enjoying the convenience of virtual care.
The difference between telehealth and telemedicine
Don’t be confused by the two terms telemedicine and telehealth. You will often hear them used interchangeably, but they have some differences. Telehealth is a broad term including a wide range of services and technologies in the healthcare field and can include more than just virtual clinical services. Telehealth also includes provider training, administrative meetings and medical continuing education. Telemedicine is a more specific term for remote clinical services. Telemedicine is under the umbrella of telehealth.
Through telemedicine, licensed healthcare providers can:
Benefits of telehealth for the patient:
- Evaluate whether a patient needs in-person treatment
- Write or renew prescriptions
- Diagnose a variety of non-emergency conditions (ranging from acne to respiratory problems)
- Provide therapy (including speech and physical therapy)
- Conduct counseling sessions for mental health
There is no travel time and there is no need to take off work or find childcare.
Telehealth options can be great for people who live in rural areas or those with disabilities who have a difficult time getting to traditional appointments.
- Decreased Exposure
Not going into the doctor’s office or hospital keeps you from encountering potentially contagious patients.
- Better Health
Let’s not forget the biggest advantage of all – a healthier you! The convenience of telemedicine gives you more control to manage your prescriptions and medical conditions and improve your lifestyle.
Is telemedicine covered by health insurance?
It depends. Federal and state laws around coverage for telemedicine vary as do insurance company policies. Some are covered and other’s provide reimbursement. Contact your health insurance provider to see if you have coverage for telehealth and telemedicine services.
Aside from health insurance, there are also options available to join a membership to a telemedicine provider. As a member perk, Alabama Farmers Federation members now have access to telemedicine services through Smart Solution Plus Telemedicine Plus, which provides unlimited medical consultations for the member and their household. Members can consult with medical providers as often as needed, all for one low monthly fee of $8.95.
Smart Solution Plus Telemedicine Plus provides 24/7 telemedicine access to a medical provider by phone, app or webcam. These providers can address medical conditions such as:
If you would like to sign up at the discounted member rate, please visit www.alfafarmers.org/perks.
- Abrasions, bruises
- Colds, flu and fever
- Sore throat, cough, congestion
- Allergies, hives, skin infections
- Bites and stings
- Minor headaches, arthritic pains
- Medication refills (short-term)
- Diarrhea, vomiting, nausea
- Urinary tract infections
- Headaches, body aches
- Eye infections, conjunctivitis
- And more!