With the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic at the top of everyone’s minds, people are increasingly opting to stay away from doctor’s offices and hospitals to avoid exposure to the virus.
Virtual “telecare” doctor’s visits, medication delivery and other services allow people to get the care they need while continuing to practice social distancing. (Note: These options aren’t meant to address life-threatening healthcare situations.)
Here’s what you can do right now:
Schedule a video call with a doctor and save up to 95%.
Whether you’re dealing with a sore throat, nausea or even shingles — or if you’re concerned you’ve contracted the coronavirus — video visits with a doctor are cheaper, more convenient and, best of all, not exposing you to germs.
With these visits, you can have your condition diagnosed, have labs or x-rays ordered, and even get medicine prescribed.
The average doctor’s visit costs about $146, and an emergency room visit will run you more than $1,700 on average, according to a recent study. Meanwhile, a telecare appointment costs, on average, $79 (though many insurance programs offer telecare for $0 copay).
Here are the biggest healthcare providers offering telecare:
If you don’t have insurance, you can still take advantage of telecare for as low as $49/visit.
If your healthcare provider isn’t on this list, chances are one of these providers will accept your insurance. And if you don’t have insurance, these options — many of which include dermatology and mental health care in addition to primary care — are still cheaper and safer than your local urgent care clinic:
OneMedical: $199/year membership
iCliniq: $49/month subscription for 50 hours chat — first inquiry is free
LiveHealth Online: Up to $59/visit
Doctor On Demand: $75/visit
Use free self-diagnostic tools if you think you may have coronavirus.
Many of the above-mentioned telehealth providers have self-assessments to help patients determine whether they may have contracted COVID-19. These tools are free and helps reduce strain on the medical system, including telehealth providers.
Additionally, these sites are offering free online screenings:
Presbyterian: Free online consult for coronavirus
Project Baseline: Free assessment (California only)
Rethink My Healthcare: Free assessment and consult with doctor if appropriate
Ro: Free assessment and consult with doctor if appropriate
Roman: Free assessment and consult with doctor if appropriate
Have your prescription drugs delivered or mailed.
You can minimize exposure by using drive-through prescription pickup at your local pharmacy, or have your meds delivered to your doorstep from top drugstores.
Here are your options:
- Walgreens: $4.99 for next-business-day Walgreens Express delivery; free for standard shipping (5 – 10 business days).
- CVS: $5.00/month to join CarePass, which provides free one- to two-day delivery; $8.25 – $14.00/month to get same-day delivery via Shipt.
- Rite Aid: Free 3-5 day shipping with $34.99 purchase, otherwise $5.99. Some Rite Aid locations offer delivery (check your local store).
- Walmart Pharmacy: $15 overnight shipping; $8 second day delivery shipping; free for standard shipping (5 – 10 business days).
- TRICARE: This program for members of the military offers free delivery of 90 days’ worth of medication within 14 days.
- Other options: If you’re willing to wait a bit for your prescriptions, services Amazon PillPack and SimpleMeds are free after co-pay for a monthly shipment, and Honeybee is free for 7- to 10-day delivery with an option for $10 two-day delivery.