Millions of Americans now have access to on-demand telemedicine services 24/7 with the new UnitedHealthcare app.
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Here’s a look at how telemedicine is changing the way Americans access health care, offering convenient, cost-effective treatments for nonemergency medical conditions 24/7 via a smartphone, tablet or desktop computer. (Graphic: Business Wire)
The UnitedHealthcare app provides health information for people on the go, offering plan participants a single source to help maintain and improve their well-being, access care and make the most of their health benefits. Eligible plan participants can now use the app to directly schedule and conduct a Virtual Visit with a doctor, helping eliminate the need for multiple sign-ins or to download a separate app.
The app is available now for download at no additional charge for Android and Apple devices to more than 27 million people enrolled in UnitedHealthcare health benefit plans.* People enrolled in most UnitedHealthcare employer-sponsored plans have coverage for virtual physician visits, giving plan participants secure, online access to a physician via mobile phone, tablet or computer 24 hours a day.
“Digital health resources are fundamentally changing how people navigate the health system, making it possible to access care from anywhere at any time and helping remove barriers to care,” said Anne Docimo, M.D., UnitedHealthcare chief medical officer. “The new app is part of UnitedHealth Group’s more than $3 billion annual investment in data, technology and innovation, helping build a health system that is more intuitive, affordable and convenient.”
Implementing more virtual care solutions is a top priority for many employers, with 51% of companies planning to do so, according to a 2019 study by the National Business Group on Health. The expansion is especially important for people with chronic conditions and the 20% of the U.S. population that lives in rural areas where access to health care, particularly specialty care, is often lacking.1
About 25% of emergency room visits involve conditions that could appropriately be addressed with a virtual visit.2 Virtual care generally costs less than $50 per visit compared to an average of $740 for an emergency room visit for a similar low-severity condition3, and is designed to provide an alternative way to access care when clinics and urgent care facilities are closed.
Virtual visits typically last about 20 minutes, and doctors can diagnose a range of nonemergency medical conditions, including allergies, flu, colds, pinkeye, fevers and rashes. If needed, doctors can prescribe medications and send prescriptions to local pharmacies for pickup.
The UnitedHealthcare app also enables people to:
- access their health plan ID card on their smartphone, and email it directly from the mobile device to the plan participant’s physician office or hospital;
- review and manage prescription medications;
- comparison shop for care based on quality and cost, including the ability to review information for approximately 800 medical services;
- save their favorite care providers within the UnitedHealthcare network, and save claims and insert notes for follow-up;
- locate nearby physicians, hospitals, and urgent care centers using a smartphone’s GPS functionality, which may make it easier for consumers to find care providers when they are out of town;
- schedule a call with a UnitedHealthcare customer service advocate using the callback feature to address any questions about claims and benefits**; and
- view information on the status of deductible and out-of-pocket spending, and check account balances for health reimbursement, flexible spending and health savings accounts.
* Additional out-of-pocket costs may be required for telemedicine services depending on the plan and any applicable state requirements.
** Most UnitedHealthcare employer-sponsored plan participants have access to the callback feature.
UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people live healthier lives and making the health system work better for everyone by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. In the United States, UnitedHealthcare offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers, and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with more than 1.3 million physicians and care professionals, and 6,500 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. The company also provides health benefits and delivers care to people through owned and operated health care facilities in South America. UnitedHealthcare is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified health care company. For more information, visit UnitedHealthcare at www.uhc.com or follow @UHC on Twitter.
1 U.S. Census Bureau https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2017/08/rural-america.html
2 UnitedHealthcare data; Based on analysis of 2016 UnitedHealthcare ER claim volumes, where ER visits are low acuity and could be treated in a Virtual Visit, primary care physician or urgent/convenient care setting.
3 UnitedHealthcare data; 2018 average allowed amounts charged by UnitedHealthcare Network Providers for low-severity treatments.