A woman using her phone to contact the 24-hour nurses line and schedule a virtual visit

How to Access Telehealth Care During the Coronavirus Outbreak

As cases of a new coronavirus continue to spread across the U.S., health care leaders are encouraging patients to use telehealth options in order to access virtual care.

The new virus causes a respiratory illness called COVID-19. While it originated in China, the illness has spread across the globe to the U.S. For up-to-date information regarding COVID-19 from MIBluesPerspectives.com, click here.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network offer two options to access virtual care: the 24-hour Nurse Line and Blue Cross Online Visits. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan will be waiving the cost of telehealth medical and behavioral health visits to its members and customers that have that benefit included in their health care plans as a part of the company’s response to the new coronavirus pandemic. Learn more here.

For patients with mild symptoms including headaches, stomachaches and vomiting, painful urination, cold and flu symptoms, eye irritations and mild rashes and injuries, virtual care provides a convenient way to access health care professionals.

During the coronavirus outbreak health care facilities may be overwhelmed with patients seeking care for respiratory illness. Additionally, individuals seeking care for mild issues other than COVID-19 may want to consider telehealth options in order to avoid clinics and health care facilities with COVID-19 patients.

24-Hour Nurse Line

At no cost, Blue Cross’ 24-Hour Nurse Line allows you to talk to a registered nurse day or night. Registered nurses can answer your questions and help you decide where to get care when it’s late, you’re on the go or if your primary care doctor isn’t available.

  • Blue Cross members
    1-800-775-2583
  • Blue Care Network members
    1-855-624-5214

Online Access to Your Primary Care Doctor

Ask your primary care provider if they are available to you via telemedicine through their patient portals or other means.

Blue Cross Online Visits

Before you get started, ensure your plan includes access to Blue Cross Online VisitsSM and services.

To get started, you’ll need to create an account. Visit bcbsmonlinevisits.com on your computer, download the BCBSM Online VisitsSM app with your mobile device or call 1-844-606-1608. You’ll be asked to fill in some basic information, including your Blue Cross or Blue Care Network member number. Once that’s complete, you’re ready to use Blue Cross Online Visits. If you already have an account, simply log in.

Follow these easy steps to get started with a medical visit:

  1. Choose a visit type: Once you’ve logged in to the app or website, you can choose from different types of visits: medical, therapy or psychiatry. When you choose a service—for example, medical—you can choose the first available doctor, select a doctor from the list or find a specific doctor. Read more about each doctor by clicking on their profile to find out their specialty, languages they speak and more. If a doctor is seeing another patient, you can enter the waiting room until they become available.
  2. Get started: Click the green “Get Started” button. Since each visit is unique, you’ll be asked for some more information, such as if the visit is for you or someone else and your phone number. You can also invite a guest to the visit, such as a parent who may be traveling or a caregiver.
  3. Reason for your visit: Next, you’ll choose the reason for your doctor’s visit, such as cold, fever, headache, rash and more.
  4. Choose a pharmacy: At this point, you’ll be able to select a pharmacy for any medications prescribed after your visit. Your doctor can electronically send most prescriptions directly to the pharmacy for easy pick-up. Enter your zip code to choose a pharmacy near you. To make the most of your pharmacy benefits, choose a pharmacy in the Blue Cross network.
  5. Provide your medical history: To streamline your visit, you can fill out your medical history, including any chronic conditions, allergies or current medications. You can also add your vitals like blood pressure, temperature and weight.
  6. Find a provider: If you haven’t already, you can choose a doctor now. Click “More Info” to learn more about the doctor chosen for you, like their primary language and years of experience. Check the box agreeing to the privacy notice to continue to the payment section.
  7. Verify your insurance and payment options: Now you’ll verify your Blue Cross or Blue Care Network insurance information and review the cost for the online visit. The final step before seeing the doctor is entering your payment information. You can use a debit or credit card, including flex spending or health savings account cards.
  8. Using therapy and psychiatry visits: The process for therapy and psychiatry visits is similar, except these visits are available by appointment only. Select therapy or psychiatry on the homepage to schedule an appointment by date and provider. Once you’ve chosen the therapist or psychiatrist who is right for you, you can choose your preferred appointment time to begin the scheduling process. Therapy and psychiatry visits are not available across all Blue Cross and Blue Care Network plans, so be sure to check what your plan covers before scheduling an appointment.

Learn more about your choices for care when it’s not an emergency at bcbsm.com/findcare.

More from MIBluesPerspectives.com about the coronavirus outbreak:

Photo credit: PredragImages

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