International Student Guide — to — Telemedicine

More than 15 million Americans received some kind of medical care remotely in 2019.

What is Telemedicine?

A health care professional will evaluate, diagnose and treat a patient in real time over the phone, chat or by video.

Why Telemedicine?

  • Get treatment without leaving home
  • No need to travel, get help wherever you are
  • Less expensive
  • 24/7 Access
Healing from a Distance World Health Organization

When to use telemedicine?

Telemedicine is helpful for non-emergencies including:

  • Cold or cough
  • Allergies or sinus problems
  • Sore throat
  • Skin condition
  • Prescription refills
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Infections
  • Chronic diseases

An Emergency is still an Emergency.

If you have an emergency, go straight to the emergency room for immediate care.

The hospital is still the best place to go if you have a life-threatening emergency.

COVID-19 and Telemedicine

Think you might have COVID-19? Or, would you prefer to get medical attention from your own home?

Telemedicine can be a great option for those concerned they may be exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, or concerned about exposure to COVID-19 to get medical treatment.

I want Telemedicine, who do I contact?

There are many different types of telehealth companies, and your insurance plan may have an agreement with a particular company. Be sure to check!

If you're free to choose your telemedicine provider, here are a few you can try:

  • Teladoc — Starts at $75/visit

    English and Spanish speakers available, interpreters available for all other languages.

  • MeMD — Starts at $67/visit

    English and Spanish speakers available, interpreters available for all other languages.

  • Amwell — Starts at $79/visit
    English, Spanish, Chinese, and Arabic speakers available, can request an interpreter if requested language is not available.
Just like seeking medical care at a doctor’s office or hospital, this visit is completely confidential.

Preparing for Your Visit

Medical Tips

Check with your insurance
  • Is it covered?
  • Does your insurance have an agreement with an existing telemedicine company?
  • What do you need to pay for your visit?
  • Is there anything you need to do after using telemedicine?
Create an agenda
  • Carefully choose a few key topics and be clear on what you want to get out of your visit
  • Create a list of symptoms you are experiencing since visits are quick!
  • Write down any questions you don’t want to forget to ask

Technical Tips

Check Your Equipment
  • Make sure your phone, tablet, or computer is plugged in or has enough battery life
  • Make sure the internet is strong
  • Take photos of rashes or any issues that are concerning
  • If you have a thermometer (100.4+ is a fever) or at-home blood pressure cuff, do your readings right before your visit
Is this mic on? Don’t forget!
  • Is your audio working?
  • Is your video camera working?
  • Is your microphone working?

Keep A Diary

Keeping a diary can help during your visit since the doctor won’t be able to physically examine you. Think through:

  • What are your symptoms?
  • What time of day do you experience the issue?
  • Is there anything that makes it better or worse?
  • What is going on in your day when your symptoms get better or worse?
  • How long have your symptoms been going on?
  • How has this issue impacted your quality of life?
  • Are there any patterns you are noticing?
This will help your health care provider help diagnose the issue.

The Virtual Visit
Average call is 30 minutes or less.

Be Your Tech Support

  • Login 15 minutes before your appointment
  • Know what to do in case you get disconnected
  • Have documents handy such as previous medical records, lab results, imaging, etc.
  • Grab any medications so you can give type, dosage, etc.

Make sure to mention all of your concerns and questions.

Talking with the Doctor

  • Be prepared to answer health history questions for you and your family.
  • You will be asked to explain your medical issue and you will be asked a series of questions so that the doctor can further understand your symptoms.
  • You may be asked to do the physical exam such as: feel your sinuses, push on your ears, zoom in on your eyes and nose, cough, or the physician may want to watch you breath.
Tip: Your doctor can write you a note for school (or work), and they can call in a prescription to your local pharmacy.

After the Visit

Your call ends, now...

  • You will receive medical records and care instructions electronically
  • Prescriptions will be sent to your local pharmacy
  • Depending on your insurance plan, you may need to submit to your insurance or pay a copay

What if I need a referral?

If you're referred for follow up care, or you are sent to an urgent care or emergency room, these future visits will be handled by your insurance. Be sure to see whether they're inside your insurance network, and follow the regular steps for submitting a claim.
To learn more about how your International Student Health plan works with telehealth, contact our customer service team!

Return to our "Insurance Explained" section for more information and help