This article was last updated Aug. 22, 2022.
What would you suggest if one of your employees is sick at home but not comfortable going in to their provider's office? You guessed it: There’s an app for that! When a condition isn't life-threatening, Doctor On Demand® External Link offers virtual urgent care visits with board-certified physicians.
Woman who doesn't feel well. Plus sign. Cell phone with Doctor On Demand app. Equals sign. Cell phone with video chat with doctor who asks how they can help.
Doctor On Demand is Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield's preferred virtual visit provider who gives you and your employees the option to receive medical treatment via phone, tablet or desktop computer.
And, there are benefits for every workforce, especially with employees who:
- Have tight schedules or short lunch breaks
- Live or work in areas where in-person care isn’t widely accessible
- Travel frequently for work
- Need to juggle multiple schedules for family members
- Have high-deductible health plans
- Are traveling outside their network
- Want to avoid a trip to the emergency room
- Have a simple question about an existing treatment regimen
The telehealth evolution
In the past, many health insurers did not cover virtual doctor visits — also known as telehealth or telemedicine — at the same cost share as in-person visits or at any cost. COVID-19 mitigation efforts of social distancing prompted the shift for relaxed rules around virtual visit coverage and influenced technological advances for digital visit solutions.
As was widely reported in the health care industry and elsewhere, the use of virtual doctor visits saw a dramatic rise during the pandemic with more than twice the number of health care providers offering telehealth during the pandemic than before. In fact, Wellmark has seen virtual visits for behavioral health conditions increase by more than 3,000 percent since March 2020. According to WebMD External Link, in 2019, only 8 percent of Americans surveyed had ever tried telehealth. Today, more than one-third of Americans External Site have seen a doctor remotely.
How does a virtual doctor visit compare to an in-person visit?
Virtual visits are convenient and just as effective as in-person visits for conditions like:
- Cold and flu symptoms
- Stress management
- Seasonal allergies
- Follow-up visits
- Prescription refills
- Monitoring of chronic conditions
Virtual visits also benefit physicians by freeing up the time they’d spend treating someone with a common cold. When simpler ailments can be addressed virtually, physicians are able to dedicate more time to patients with chronic conditions.
Get the word out about virtual visits to your employees.
Do your employees know about virtual visits? Help them get the care they need, whenever — or wherever — they need it. Download the Doctor On Demand poster from the Wellmark Marketing Toolkit (M-2018439) and share it at your business.
When to visit a doctor in-person
There are some doctor visits that are best performed in-person like:
- The first time meeting a new physician or nurse
- Something needs to be felt (like a lump) or heard (like heartbeat or lungs) or seen (sore throat or rash)
- If blood tests or other imaging needs to be done
If your employees are unsure if they should schedule an in-person or virtual visit, remind them of BeWell 24/7SM — a service available exclusively to Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield members. You get real help from real people 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Get answers to questions about a variety of concerns, from a health care professional. Just call Eight, Four, Four, Eight, Four, Be Well.
What does a virtual visit cost?
A virtual visit through Doctor On Demand is a benefit covered by many Wellmark plans, and most times, a virtual visit costs either the same or less than a visit to a primary care physician. Just be sure your employees check their coverage for details. If virtual visits aren't covered under your Wellmark health plan, accessing care online through a service like Doctor On Demand may still be more affordable than a trip to urgent care or the emergency room.
Some Wellmark plans cover Doctor On Demand visits for mental health. If your employees are hesitant about getting help for mental health issues such as depression or anxiety, a virtual doctor visit might be a good place to start. Make sure your employees log in to myWellmark® to check their specific benefits Secure Site before receiving care.
How can you help your employees?
It may be time to take a look at your health plan to see how telehealth visits are covered by your health plan. Doctor On Demand is Wellmark’s preferred virtual visit solution and offers a diverse choice of providers External Link. Contact your Wellmark representative to learn more.
Doctor On Demand physicians do not prescribe Drug Enforcement Administration-controlled substances, and may elect not to treat conditions or prescribe other medications based on what is clinically appropriate.
For plans that include benefits for mental health treatment, Doctor On Demand benefits may include treatment for certain psychological conditions, emotional issues and chemical dependency. Services performed by Doctor On Demand psychologists are covered. For more information, call Wellmark at the number on your ID card.
Doctor On Demand by Included Health is a separate company providing an online telehealth solution for Wellmark members. Doctor On Demand® is a registered mark of Doctor On Demand, Inc.