How Telemedicine Lowered My Doctor Bill by Hundreds of Dollars

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Hayley Dent is a Digital Marketing Specialist at Aliat.

The Wall Street Journal recently released a report on How Telemedicine Is Transforming Health Care.

Journalist Melinda Beck states, “After years of big promises, telemedicine is finally living up to its potential.”

While the article goes into some controversial points that are shaking up the healthcare industry, it does highlight the convenient aspects of Telemedicine for the individual – and all the reasons we love it at Aliat.

Two years ago, I got a painful ear infection on a Monday morning. I had to leave work at noon and visit an urgent care clinic because my primary care physician was booked for the day. The generic antibiotic I was prescribed cost $5. My doctor’s appointment cost over $200.

Today, I receive Telemedicine through my employment with Aliat. I have used my Telemedicine mobile app to request a phone consultation, in and out of my state of residence. Each time, a doctor called my cell within minutes and I was able to pick up a prescription within the hour. The phone call cost me $0 and I didn’t have to ‘tough it out’ to avoid hundreds of dollars in medical bills.

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When you’re sick, you want care immediately…but you don’t always get care immediately.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever fallen victim to:

– Getting sick on the weekend and having to wait until Monday morning to call your doctor’s office.

– Paying an expensive co-pay at your doctor’s office only to be prescribed a very affordable medication.

– Taking more than three hours off work for ten minutes of face-time with your doctor.

– Settling for an over-the-counter medicine when you would rather have prescription strength treatment.

You may have wondered why a doctor won’t call in a prescription over the phone. The reason is because doctors do not get paid for writing prescriptions. They get paid when a patient comes into the office for a face-to-face appointment.

Do you remember the days of old-fashioned house call?

About 50 years ago, people were able to pick up the phone and schedule in-home care with a local practitioner. There are reasons this method faded, including the advancement of medical technology and a heightened inconvenience for the doctor. Today, telemedicine is bringing the convenience of a house call back to the individual and the doctor.

“Doctors are linking up with patients by phone, email and webcam. They’re also consulting with each other electronically – sometimes to make split-second decisions on heart attacks and strokes. Patients, meanwhile, are using new devices to relay their blood pressure, heart rate and other vital signs to their doctors so they can manage chronic conditions at home,” states Beck.

Telemedicine does not replace someone’s primary care physician, but is rather a resource for improving wellness. It provides a method of care for people who may otherwise ignore their symptoms, or hope they go away.

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How does Aliat lower the cost of insurance claims while providing more affordable, convenient benefits for our co-employees?

By eliminating the cost of doctor visit co-pays that can be avoided by a phone call.

“The fastest-growing services in telemedicine connect consumers with clinicians they’ve never met for one-time phone, video or email visits – on-demand, 24/7. Typically, these are for nonemergency issues such as colds, flu, earaches and skin rashes, and they cost around $45, compared with approximately $100 at a doctor’s office, $160 at an urgent-care clinic or $750 and up at an emergency room,” states Beck.

Aliat includes the cost of Telemedicine in the administrative costs for every co-employee and up to five additional family members. This means your phone or video consultation is zero dollars, and you’re only responsible to cover the cost of your prescription after insurance.

You may find it odd to be talking with a different doctor each time you use Telemedicine, but consider the following. When you’re sick and need same-day care, the chances of you seeing your regular practitioner are slim. The receptionist often schedules you with a different doctor in the same building.

At Aliat, we choose Teladoc to provide outstanding care for our co-employees.

“Jason Gorevic, CEO of Teladoc, which went public last year, says its doctors use more than 100 guidelines developed specifically for determining whether a sore throat is likely due to streptococcus infection that warrants antibiotics,” states Beck. Teladoc doctors are great. They listen carefully and ask detailed questions to come to the right diagnosis.

To learn more about this Aliat service, visit our benefits page or contact us.