HOUSTON – Homeschooling, virtual work meetings, even worship services are now being done right in our own homes with government mandates to stay-safe and stay-at-home to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Now, you can add doctor’s visits to the list of tasks you can take care of from home too. And since so many insurance companies are waiving patient fees and co-pays, scheduling your routine doctor’s visits now can save you time and money.
Doctor appointments that can be scheduled via your computer or phone
- Physical therapy
- OB/GYN visits
- Ophthalmology appointments
- Appointments to approve prescription refills
Almost all doctors are seeing and treating patients via telemedicine now. Even if you don’t think it’s possible, it’s worth a call to your physician to find out.
Insurance companies waiving patient fees and copays
Cigna is waiving customer cost-sharing for all COVID-19 treatment through May 31, 2020. The treatments that Cigna will cover for COVID-19 are those covered under medicare or other applicable state regulations. The company will reimburse health care providers at Cigna’s in-network rates or Medicare rates, as applicable.
Aetna is offering a $0 co-pay for telemedicine visits until June 4, 2020.
Blue Cross Blue Shield is waiving the cost of all telemedicine visits through June 30, 2020, when they’re with network providers.
United Healthcare is waiving cost-sharing for members with a telehealth benefit through their employer-sponsored plan until June 18, 2020.
Humana is waiving member out-of-pocket costs for telehealth visits (also known as telemedicine) with participating in-network providers, including routine visits for primary and specialty care and behavioral health services for 90 days (beginning March 6, 2020).
How telemedicine works
Teriya Richmond, MD, usually sees dozens of patients at her private medical practice in Houston’s Third Ward. Now, she’s seeing those patients virtually while they stay in their homes for routine visits.
“Refilling prescriptions, things like headaches, fatigue,” Richmond explained. “Things like that where we can see you, we can look at you… and believe it or not, a lot of our decision making comes from the history and talking with the patients.”
Free and reduced cost telemedicine services
Modern Therapy is offering free therapy for frontline healthcare providers. They also have a donation-based Resilience Class for the community at large with 50% of proceeds going to the Houston Food Bank.
Join them on Instagram @moderntherapyofficial for their 10 Minutes a Day series so people can get 10 solid minutes of facilitated support and grounding exercises with a therapist every day.
Legacy Community Health is offering remote pediatric appointments, including for pediatric behavioral health, through Legacy’s new Virtual Pediatric Clinic. Specifically targeting new and existing patients ages 0-17 in the Houston area, the program will allow sick and wellness consultations for anyone who needs it but from the comfort of home.
Therapy appointments are available to assist pediatric patients with anxiety, depression, and behavioral problems. Appointments are available in both English and Spanish. Pediatric patients of all ages will need access to either a smartphone or computer, which will allow them to communicate with Legacy’s licensed and professional counselors and therapists online via video chat.
Appointments are available for both existing Legacy patients and new patients. During this period of utilizing telehealth, existing patients – both those who were seen in Legacy’s standalone clinics and those who were seen in schools – can still book appointments with the providers whom they know and trust.
As schools and clinics continue to close across the country due to the coronavirus (COVID-19), many families have been left without access to vital speech therapy services.
Expressable has launched a free speech therapy hotline available to anyone looking for support at (512) 399‑0064. This hotline is staffed by their team of SLPs and available during normal business hours. While this hotline is not intended to replace or supplement regular speech therapy services, some of the tips and recommendations SLPs can provide include:
- Educational resources for a range of speech and language disorders
- Speech therapy exercises focused on different areas of communication
- Fun activities and games parents can use at home with their children