Online Health Care Visits

Care from the Couch: How Online Visits Provide Convenient Health Care

Eric Younan had one consuming thought as he dialed the phone number to use Blue Cross Online Visits for the first time: It must be easy. And it was.

“I was feeling sick and didn’t want to deal with a long process. But it was very quick and uncomplicated. I called, somebody answered, and within the hour I was talking to a doctor,” Younan said.

Younan, a senior communications strategist with DTE, was indeed feeling sick when he woke up on one of those bone-chillingly cold, polar vortex days last winter. He and his wife woke up so nauseous they could barely move, let alone care for their one-year-old daughter.

Eric in Water

Eric Younan

The 30 miles between his primary care doctor’s office in Clawson and his home in Plymouth, Michigan, had never felt farther. Traveling to the doctor’s also meant packing up his baby daughter, which was basically a non-starter.

But Younan needed something to help manage the nausea. While lying on the couch contemplating his options, he remembered that his Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan health plan provides telehealth visits. It was worth a try.

Younan didn’t have the app, BCBSM Online VisitsSM, downloaded or his laptop handy, so he dialed the toll-free phone number for Blue Cross Online Visits.

“The whole experience was quick and easy with no surprising costs,” Younan said. “The doctor didn’t just go through the motions either. He asked questions and took time to figure out what was wrong.”

The U.S. board-certified physician also took a couple minutes to remind Younan that sometimes preservatives in food are necessary. He did this after determining that Younan had food poisoning, most likely from eating a no-preservatives pasta sauce. He prescribed medicine for the nausea and sent it to a pharmacy in baseball-throwing distance from Younan’s house.

Younan needed simple and easy care at a moment’s notice, and that’s what Blue Cross Online Visits was, he said.  After the visit and medicine, Younan was well enough to tend to his daughter and help his wife. Having also eaten the pasta sauce, she had the same food poisoning.

Younan sees online visits as something he and his family will use from time to time. Before using it, he had considered switching primary care doctors, simply because of the distance. But with online visits as another choice for care for unexpected illnesses, Younan can stay with his long-time primary doctor for regular care, such as annual physicals and long-term care management. He can even share summaries of his online visits with his primary care doctor.

“Online visits are a great option for care,” Younan said. “It’s quick, uncomplicated and you can do it from your couch.”

With Blue Cross Online Visits, you can see U.S. board-certified doctors and nurse practitioners from the comfort of home or on the go. You don’t need an appointment and visits usually take about 10 minutes. It’s a great solution for minor illnesses such as colds, flu, sore throats and sinus and respiratory infections. Visits usually cost the same as an office visit, but no more than $49. Therapy and psychiatry services may also be available. Check your coverage on bcbsm.com.

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Photo credit: Burst

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