What a Virtual Office Visit Means for You

The need for instant communication between providers and patients is growing in today’s health economy. Telehealth — the use of electronics to deliver health care services — is becoming increasingly popular for non-urgent medical care. Telehealth includes patient assessment, diagnosis, consultation, treatment, education, care management and/or self-management.

Effective January 1, 2016, private insurers are required to cover telemedicine services provided by many health care institutions. This includes (but is not limited to) services provided by hospitals, licensed physicians, psychologists and social workers.

Additionally the law also authorizes the Medicaid agency to expand coverage and reimbursement of telemedicine. EmblemHealth defines this method of telemedicine service as a Virtual Office Visit.

When to Use a Virtual Office Visit

  • I feel sick and don’t want to leave home.
  • My doctor isn’t free.
  • My schedule is busy.
  • There’s no wait; I can connect right now.
  • I just moved and don’t know local doctors.
  • I’m out of town and need a doctor’s advice.

When Not to Use a Virtual Office Visit

  • I need emergency care.
  • I need a biometric screening, such as a BMI (body mass index) or blood pressure check.
  • My care requires a review of my health records or X-rays.

Certain EmblemHealth plans offer the convenience of seeing a doctor 365 days a year, day or night, using a computer, mobile device or phone. If you’re an EmblemHealth member and would like to find out more information on these services, please call the customer service number on the back of your member ID card. You can also visit American Well website, amwell.com for access to virtual office visits.