Telehealth refers to medical services provided to patients without being in the same physical location. They are a combination of health monitoring, health education services, and consultations between a patient and a doctor remotely. It also includes services under telemedicine. It connects patients and medics in real-time using technology such as laptops, IPad, smartphones, etc.
Copays work almost similar to medical insurance, though they are usually fixed out-of-pocket charges that insured patients pay to health practitioners for the services rendered. Telehealth copays are typical of small amounts below $25. This, however, varies depending on how large the premiums are. Higher premiums attract low copays, while lower premiums attract higher copays. They are often confused with deductibles paid before the insurance company covers a claim.
Telehealth copays are, therefore, out-of-pocket payments made by patients for virtual doctor visits. The patients log in to the healthcare providers’ preferred system and book an appointment. They then communicate through chatting, audio, or video with providers mostly on minor health problems and consultations. The costs for such visits are usually similar to physical visits. Most people do not view virtual visits the same as in-person visits. However, there is a small difference to it since it is mostly about minor health issues and consultations with doctors.
Telehealth is covered by Medicare, Medicare Advantage, and most private insurers, although some have recently waived these virtual visits copays such as UnitedHealthcare and Anthem. This has been caused by the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic that has increased virtual visits significantly because of the virus’s nature. Public insurers are pulling out as of October 1st because of the increased costs resulting from this pandemic. Unfortunately, this effect trickles down to providers, especially small medical firms, mainly depending on these funds. It implies that the charges will be going back to the normal levels- almost similar to in-person visits. Besides, it will make patients rethink their healthcare plans and skip some telehealth visits or look for alternative means.
Telehealth Insurance and healthcare providers are under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA). This means that patients’ information is kept private. All chats and videos you hold with practitioners are protected to the same level as in-person visits.