MOUNTLAKE TERRACE, Wash., Dec. 17, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Premera Blue Cross today announced that it will offer telehealth benefits to its nearly 2 million members through its virtual care offering starting next year. Premera's virtual care offering will enable members to receive health-related services and information via a variety of telecommunication channels for the purpose of diagnosis, prevention, health advice, disease management and treatment. Effective January 1, 2015, virtual care will be a component of Premera's healthcare delivery system and will be available as a covered benefit to all members.
"The industry is moving toward offering people access to care at a place and time that is convenient to them," said Rich Maturi, senior vice president of Premera's Health Care Delivery System. "Our virtual care offering will allow us to meet our members where they are and also make it simple for them to get the care they need. We are pleased to make virtual care available to all of our members."
Premera members will have access to telehealth services through two types of healthcare provider channels. Members can receive virtual care through their local healthcare provider, such as a primary care physician or a pediatrician, if they are equipped with telehealth capabilities. Members will also have 24-hour virtual care access through Teladoc®, the largest and fastest-growing provider of telehealth medical consultations in the U.S. Teladoc provides its members fast, affordable, high-quality access to U.S. board-certified, state-licensed physicians who can resolve many medical issues by phone, secure online video and mobile applications from wherever the member is.
Premera members who utilize Teladoc will be able to receive diagnosis and receive select treatment services anytime virtually, which may allow health issues to be resolved in less time and from the convenience and privacy of a member's home or office. Teladoc is not intended to replace a member's primary care physician, but instead is designed as a convenient alternative to urgent care and unnecessary ER visits. Common conditions treated by Teladoc include: bronchitis, respiratory infection, sinus problems, allergies, and influenza.
"By making telehealth services available, our members can have peace of mind that they will have access to virtual care any time of day," continued Maturi. "This service provides a viable alternative when in-person care is a challenge due to geographic distance, limited access to transportation, and a need for care outside of regular doctor office hours."
Premera Blue Cross is a leading health plan in the Pacific Northwest, providing comprehensive health benefits and tailored services to approximately 1.8 million people, from individuals to Fortune 100 companies. Premera is committed to providing its members peace of mind about their healthcare. The company offers innovative health and wellness solutions focused on quality outcomes for patients and controlling costs. Premera Blue Cross, which has operated in Washington since 1933, is a not-for-profit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
Premera Blue Cross is a member of a family of companies based in Mountlake Terrace, Wash., providing health, life, vision, dental, stop-loss, disability, workforce wellness and other related products and services. The family of companies employs over 3,600 people and provides healthcare coverage and related services to over 1.9 million members.
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SOURCE Premera Blue Cross