Will 2022 Herald The Return of The Private Clinic?
Even before the pandemic, there has been a rapidly growing demand for online doctors and telemedicine. People were seeking to receive health care virtually without leaving their homes for a variety of reasons. Some didn’t have the time to go to the doctor’s office while others preferred to stay in the comfort of their homes and receive the care they needed from there.
Despite the fact that we’re slowly going back to our regular lives, virtual medical visits are here to stay. Also, many Americans don’t have medical insurance, so getting virtual medical attention is another way of lowering their costs, while still getting the care they deserve.
So, how much is a doctor’s visit without insurance? Which services do online doctors offer for those without any medical insurance? If these questions are coming to mind when talking about telehealth, we’ve gathered all the information in one place to help you make the most of it.
What are Virtual Medical Visits?
A virtual medical visit, also known as a telemedicine or telehealth consult, is a concept that connects medicine with technology to provide remote medical care to decrease the number of unnecessary office and home visits.
Although telemedicine has existed since the invention of the telephone, as the technology was evolving and our lifestyle was changing over the years, virtual medical visits became more widely available than ever before.
Besides telehealth, telemedicine, and healthcare, there are several other terms to describe the same services in virtual patient care, phone visits, medical video visits and ehealth.
Which Services are Covered via Virtual Medical Visits?
You can find almost any service when seeking an online doctor, especially if they don’t rely on detailed physical exams or in-office diagnostic testing. By choosing virtual medical visits, the doctor can still gather a lot of information about the patient’s history as it’s one of the vital pieces of each medical visit.
There are plenty of situations where you should consider seeking telehealth services instead of traditional ones if you don’t have medical insurance coverage:
- Counseling and behavioral health services – mental health therapy, prenatal care, diabetes management
- Medication management – patients with prescription medication in need of a routine check-in,
- Remote health screening – avoiding the possibility of transmission of infection with health screening,
- Rural specialty care – connecting with a specialist provider outside the rural area,
- Follow-up appointments – checking in with patients to determine if more care is necessary.
In light of the COVID pandemic, telehealth has been widely utilized to gather crucial information regarding vital signs and many other health indicators that might help with the diagnosis and treatment. You were even able to find dentists who offer partial telehealth services, like consultations and basic follow-up appointments.
Which Virtual Healthcare Services Services Don’t Require Medical Insurance?
If you don’t have health insurance, going to the doctor’s office or visiting a specialist in a hospital probably symbolizes immense costs for you. That’s why many have decided to seek online or phone doctors as they tend to be less expensive than physical office visits.
Without medical insurance, you can still have access to all virtual healthcare services as long as you can pay for them.
If you have medical insurance, you should check if it’s also covering virtual medical visits as your country’s ministry or department of health and many private insurers have included virtual services on their lists as well.
How Much is a Virtual Doctor Visit without Insurance?
Virtual visits are usually less expensive than physical office visits. Costs will vary depending on the type and extent of telehealth service, but if you compare the prices of virtual and physical visits, you will notice a significant difference that might save you quite a handful. If you’re seeking a routine doctor visit completely online, an in-person visit can cost you three or even four times more in the long run.
Besides virtual family medicine, which is one of the most popular telehealth services, there are many other affordable health services you can get online. For instance, you could pay from $45 to $90 for an acne telehealth visit and a little bit less than $50 for birth control.
In most cases, the costs for virtual visits are 30-50% less expensive than in-person office visits. On the other hand, if you have medical insurance you can expect these prices to be even more reasonable for the price, depending on the coverage.
How Should You Prepare for a Virtual Medical Visit?
As much as you’ll probably be more comfortable talking to your doctor from your home, you’ll need to somehow prepare for it.
Before the visit with your online doctor starts, this is what you should do:
- Fill out any required paperwork and send all your exam results requested for the virtual medical visit.
- Prepare all your medical records so you can discuss it with your online or phone doctor at any time.
- If you have and prefer to use insurance, check with your provider if the telehealth service will be covered.
- If you’re taking medications, have the bottles by your side to avoid any misunderstandings about what you’re taking and at what dose.
- Check your microphone, camera, and internet speed before the virtual visit with your doctor.
- Have a pen and a paper on hand to write down all the notes during the call. You can also write your precursory questions you might have before the telemedicine conversation begins.
The Bottom Line
With telemedicine, you are not only saving time you would spend on going to your doctor’s office or a hospital, but you often get better treatment, diagnosis, and second opinions that you would typically spend much more on without having insurance.
Telehealth on a global and international scale will continue to evolve. Therefore, you can expect even better service quality in the future and find the virtual healthcare options that fit you best.
Dr. Naheed Ali MD, PhD
Dr. Ali is a consumer health copywriter & technical medical content writer. He completed lifestyle medicine training from Harvard Medical School and has 15 years of writing experience in the healthcare industry. For more information about his expert services, click here.