Health plan now covers telemedicine

The Carpenters Health and Security Plan now provides benefits for telephone or online consultations with a covered provider.

This type of service is called a telehealth consultation, or telemedicine. It means delivering health care services through the use of interactive audio and/or video technology that permits real-time communication between a patient and doctor.

Even though this type of consultation doesn't take place with patient and doctor in the same physical location, the purpose is the same as an office visit with a primary physician or trip to an urgent care clinic. Telehealth consultations are for the treatment of certain medical conditions requiring immediate but non-emergent care, such as cold or flu symptoms, allergies, urinary tract infections, bronchitis, ear infections, and certain skin conditions. To be covered, the telehealth consultation must be:

  • Online or by telephone
  • A live discussion or video exchange with ongoing participation by the patient and the provider throughout the visit
  • Diagnostic and treatment focused

Only telehealth consultations with dates of service on and after Jan. 1, 2017 will be eligible for benefits. Like a regular office visit, a telehealth consultation is subject to the annual deductible ($200), the office visit copayment ($10 for a network provider and $20 for a non-network provider) and coinsurance (90% for a network provider and 80% for a non-network provider).

A telehealth consultation can be useful for individuals who become ill or need medical attention during evening or weekend hours. It can be especially convenient if you're on the road, on a jobsite, or cannot get to a clinic for some other reason.