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Health insurance Virginia features virtual doctor visits

There's a bit of a new twist to health insurance Virginia these days as there's a network of Sentara health care providers and doctors that that will make themselves available to people for virtual doctor visits seven days a week, 24 hours a day. The service kicked off in October 2012 and patients can access it via telephone, mobile devices, email, and a video-conferencing online website. The project is a joint venture provided by Sentara and MDLIVE, which is a tele-health company.

The physicians will offer diagnosis and treatment for minor ailments such as colds, the flu, ear infections, and allergies etc. The doctors will visit with their patients in real time via a video conference system. In additions, the health care providers will also be able to prescribe drugs during their conferences with patients. For those who have more serious health issues, they will be referred to a suitable health-care provider.

MDLIVE was launched back in 2006 and is located in Sunrise, Fla. The company supplies on-demand and online medical services via a secure platform which has been approves by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. The teleconference medical service is available in several states across the nation and the physicians are allowed to take calls from people in the states they're licensed to practice. The Sentara physicians take calls from Virginia patients only and it costs them $45 for each virtual visit and some health insurance Virginia plans will cover it as a benefit.

There have been several tele-health services launched in the last few years and some health insurance providers including United Healthcare are allowing their members to utilize them since they reduce the cost of health care and address the shortage of doctors. Several consumer health groups state that tele-health services are good in some situations, but they feel this type of technology may not make for ideal patient-doctor relationships.

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