This article was last updated on May 28, 2020
** Effective March 16, 2020, all Wellmark members will have access to virtual health care visits with no cost-share. To avoid the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), we encourage you to take advantage of virtual visits with your current primary care physician, if you have this capability. For those who don’t currently have a primary care physician, please use an in-network provider or Doctor On Demand®. The cost-share for such visits, including those for mental health reasons, are waived through Aug. 31. At that time, we will reassess. This update applies to all fully-insured and Medicare supplement plans. **
When you hear the words “virtual doctor,” what comes to mind? A hologram popping up at a moment’s notice? A robot you chat with online?
It’s easy to let your imagination run wild, especially if you haven’t given virtual visits a try yet. But a virtual doctor is just like any other board-certified physician — you just receive treatment via phone, tablet or computer
And as it turns out, virtual doctors can play a huge part in your overall health, even your mental health.
How can a virtual doctor treat your mental health?
According to the World Health Organization, one in four people worldwide will be affected by a mental disorder External Site at some point in their lives. And, based on a recent Blue Cross® Blue Shield® Health of America Report® External Site, six out of the top ten conditions impacting the millennial generation are behavioral conditions impacting mental and emotional well-being.
Yet, more than 70 percent of people External Site with mental health conditions don't seek help. From shame to lack of access many people find it can be challenging to reach out for help Opens New Window, but it doesn’t have to be.
Is seeing a virtual doctor the best option for my mental health?
You and your virtual doctor will decide the best course of treatment for your specific needs. Maybe you would prefer in-person one-on-one counseling or group therapy sessions. But if you’re not sure, virtual visits are a great place to start and figure out what works best for you.
Here are a few benefits of choosing virtual visits.
- Convenience: According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America External Site, the benefits of therapy are usually seen 12–16 weeks after starting. It’s not always possible for people to consistently schedule and make time for these appointments. Virtual visits fit into your schedule to make consistent treatment as easy as possible.
- Affordability: Cost of care can be a huge barrier for people seeking mental health treatment. Virtual visits may be covered by your Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield health insurance plan. And, even if they aren't, they may still be more affordable than regular trips to a mental health professional. Just make sure you log in to myWellmark® Opens New Window and check your specific benefits before receiving care.
- Privacy: Over time you should develop a relationship with your virtual doctor. But texting, emails, and phone calls can be an easier way to build trust and open up about sensitive feelings you may be experiencing.
If you've been wondering how to get help with your mental health, a virtual doctor visit might be a place to begin. So reach out, ask questions, and get started. It could be just what you need for a boost in your health.
If you are concerned about your mental health and need immediate help, please take advantage of the resources provided by the Centers for Disease Control External Site.