Keep Health Issues in Check with Virtual Visits

Keep Health Issues in Check with Virtual Visits

Does your health plan offer virtual visits with doctors in your health plan’s network? Now is a good time to check. It may be just what you need to stay on top of your health while avoiding the health risks of COVID-19.

With concerns about keeping patients and staff safe during COVID-19, many medical practices and clinics are using virtual visits for things like:

  • New health concerns
  • Annual exams
  • Routine check-ins on health issues
When There’s a Problem

Having stomach issues? A headache that won’t go away? A rash that concerns you? These are the types of things you may see a primary care doctor about. You would schedule a visit, then go to the office and spend 10-20 minutes talking with the doctor about your concerns. Your doctor may decide to have you try a certain medicine, give you medical advice, or send you for a test. 

Your doctor may decide visits like these that don’t call for a hands-on exam can be done in a virtual visit setting. A virtual visit is also a good opportunity to talk to the doctor about what to do if you are experiencing depression, anxiety or other mental health issues.

Annual Exams

Some primary care doctors, pediatricians and women’s health providers may also choose to do annual exams using virtual visits. These visits play a big role in catching small health problems before they become big ones.

Doctors are finding that much of what they do in your yearly checkup can be done virtually:

  • Review your health and family history.
  • Update a list of your current medications.
  • Talk about your lifestyle, such as tobacco or alcohol use, diet and sleep habits.

Other exams, like blood tests, vision and hearing tests, and imaging such as mammograms can be scheduled separately. The doctor can send prescriptions directly to your pharmacy.

As always, an annual exam is covered at no cost to you if you see a provider in your health plan’s network.

Condition Check-ins

Diabetes, asthma, heart disease, cancer, depression. These and other chronic health issues need your attention every day, even during COVID-19. And since these conditions may mean you’re at higher risk of getting very ill if you catch the virus, it’s vital that you keep your appointments, follow doctor’s orders and work with your doctor if you have concerns.

Many doctors have shifted to virtual visits for their patients with chronic illnesses to keep them safe.

An added benefit to virtual visits is that you don’t have to arrange travel or time off from work or school.

How Virtual Doctor Visits Work

Depending on your health plan’s benefits, you may be covered to see a doctor in your plan’s network by virtual visit.

Getting signed up for a virtual visit is easy:

  1. Make sure you have internet access and a smartphone, tablet or computer with a built-in or attached camera.
  2. Call your doctor’s office to ask about virtual visits and schedule an appointment. Be sure to ask if they are in your health plan’s network.
  3. You may need to handle paperwork and any payment before the call, either online or by email.
  4. When it’s time for your appointment, follow the instructions from the doctor’s office on how to connect with your doctor.
Virtual Visits

Virtual visits are covered under many Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana (BCBSMT) PPO and HMO health care plans. 

Some BCBSMT health plans also include access to Virtual Visits, powered by MDLIVE®. This service gives you access to board-certified doctors and licensed behavioral health therapists for many non-emergency health situations, including condition management for chronic health problems. Log in to Blue Access for MembersSM to see if you have this benefit and to register with MDLive. Then go to to schedule a visit.

Source: People Who Are at Higher Risk for Severe Illness,  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020;

Originally published July 23, 2020, Revised 2021