Rx: Online MD House Calls
LA Times--Consulting your family physician is finally moving into the 21st century and out of the doctor's office. Since the dawn of e-mail, patients have been pleading for more doctors to offer medical advice online. No traffic jams, no long waits, no germ-infested offices with outdated magazines and bad elevator music.
There was always one major roadblock: Most health insurers wouldn't pay for it. Until now.
In recent weeks, Aetna Inc., the nation's largest insurer, and Cigna Corp. have agreed to reimburse doctors for online visits. Other large insurers are expected to follow, experts say.
These new online services, which typically cost the same as a regular office visit, are aimed primarily at those who already have a doctor. The virtual visits are considered best for follow-up consultations and treatment for minor ailments such as colds and sore throats.