Luckily, there are many ways to access the health care you need, when you need it. “Whether you don’t have time for an in-office appointment, or you would prefer to receive your prescriptions by mail, we’re seeing more and more options that can help relieve stress by adding more convenience,” explains Don Truong, director of sales at Sharp Health Plan.
It’s always a good idea to check with your doctor, and your health plan, to see what options are available that can help save you time when accessing care. Here are six tips to help you get started:
- Online portals
Most doctors’ offices offer secure online patient portals, such as FollowMyHealth, to give you 24/7 access to view test results, send and receive messages from your doctor, and more. Some health insurance companies also provide online portals that give convenient access to things like your covered health benefits and drug list. Check with your doctor and your health plan to see what they offer.
- Video and phone visits
You may be able to save yourself a trip to the doctor’s office for a medical concern or follow-up appointment by having a video or phone visit. Some doctors offer telehealth options for members with certain medical conditions and follow-up appointments. Contact your doctor’s office to learn more. Before receiving these services, you should check with your health plan to confirm what’s covered and what your copay will be. Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group and Sharp Community Medical Group offer video and phone visits for current patients.
- Same-day, next-day and after-hours care
Some doctors may provide same-day and next-day appointments, as well as weekend and evening visits. Contact your doctor’s office to learn more. Your health plan may even offer free after-hours advice from health care professionals who can give immediate counsel on your health concerns and help you decide where to seek further care if needed.
- Care at home
To access home health services, most health plans require you to be homebound, or unable to leave your home due to illness or old age. If you or a family member qualify, home health services typically cover a wide range of health and social services delivered in your home to treat illness or injury.
Services covered by Medicare’s home health benefit include occasional skilled nursing care, therapy and care provided by a home health aide. Check your member handbook (also called your Evidence of Coverage or EOC) to verify what’s covered under your specific plan, or contact your health plan for more information.
When you’re looking for convenient treatment for a minor illness or injury, you may want to check out MinuteClinic. These are walk-in medical clinics inside select CVS Pharmacy stores nationwide. For the best experience, it’s important to check with your health plan to see what they cover and what your copay will be.
- Medication by mail
Skip a trip to the pharmacy and instead receive your prescriptions by mail. Most health plans cover mail-order drugs. In fact, mail order may even help you save money on your prescriptions. And with programs like 90-day refills by mail, it can be helpful when traveling to ensure that you always have enough of your medications on hand.