Telemedicine Might Save You Some Money
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Telemedicine Might Save You Some Money

Posted on Wednesday, April 8th, 2020 at 1:03 am
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It can be unpleasant to have to go to the doctor’s office while sick. In the time of coronavirus, a waiting room could be dangerous, especially for people who do not have strong immune systems. Telemedicine is a safer solution – and might save you some money.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced it has expanded access to telehealth services during the COVID-19 outbreak. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) expanded Medicare coverage for telehealth visits. HHS Office of Civil Rights announced it will waive potential HIPPA penalties for good faith use of telemedicine during the pandemic. HHS Office of Inspector General provided flexibility for healthcare providers to reduce or waive beneficiary cost-sharing for telehealth visits paid for by federal healthcare programs.

People who are working from home should check their employer sponsored health insurance to see if telemedicine is covered. U.S. News reported that almost al large employers now offer telehealth services as part of their employee coverage. And more health plans are expanding telehealth into behavioral health, which helps provide therapists and psychologists in areas that suffer from a shortage of providers.

U.S. News says that the national median cost for a video-based telemedicine visit is $50, compared to $85 for a low-severity treatment at a doctor’s office, $130 for an urgent care facility visit, and $740 for an emergency room visit (according to UnitedHealthcare).

Telemedicine can save you money because it costs less than if you went to see a doctor in-person. If there is a co-pay, it is typically much lower than the co-pay at the doctor’s office would be.

You might have to miss work to go see a doctor in person. Telemedicine means you can still work from home while waiting for the doctor to contact you.

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Good Tip: Saving money is important – especially if you have a lot of expenses like bills to pay, loans to pay off, and all the other things that drain your bank account. Figuring out a way to save money can feel tedious to some, and like a punishment to others. U.S. News suggests that you try one of these money saving challenges. The “No Eating Out for a Month” Challenge This one is self-explanatory. The goal is to avoid eating out for an entire month. This might be super easy for people who enjoy making meals at home. People who really enjoy dining out, or ordering food to be sent to their home, may struggle with this one. It’s worth a try because spending money on take-out is more expensive than buying groceries. The Pantry Challenge This one is a variation of the “No Eating Out for a Month” challenge. The goal is to use up all of your groceries before you buy more. It forces you to try and remember why you bought a food or beverage that you don’t know what to do with, and gives you the opportunity to find a way to use it. The one exemption to this challenge is the foods that have expired. Don’t eat them! Throw them in the trash. The “No Spend” Challenge Make a goal to avoid spending money during an entire weekend. The only exemption in this challenge is that you are allowed to pay bills. This challenge is interesting because it requires creativity. You must be creative and find workarounds for problems that you would typically solve by spending money. You may have a different outlook on spending after finishing this challenge.