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Can I claim for virtual or remote delivery health services?

Remember when healthcare was only delivered in person, face to face? Well, the world is changing and there is a new normal! Welcome to virtual healthcare.

How health professionals help you and your family is evolving. To make it easier to provide patient care, many providers do not need to physically meet with you.

More and more, it’s essential to provide care remotely to keep everyone safe and healthy. Remote care is convenient and eliminates the need to commute to a doctor’s visit. That’s why clinicians, care teams, patients, and families are making the transition to virtual healthcare.

And here’s the good news: health insurance has evolved too, to keep you covered.

How does remote delivery work?

When it is appropriate for your care, your health professional can assess and treat you without a face-to-face visit using telemedicine practices. They may ask you complete a consent form.

When you call or email your provider, they will send you a follow-up email with an invitation and links to your virtual appointment. When you click on the link (often called Join Meeting) you be able to get started.

Here is what you will typically need for your virtual care visit:

  • A smartphone, tablet or laptop with a front camera and microphone.
  • Access to a power source and your device fully charged.
  • An internet connection.
  • Your email address.
  • Good lighting in your space so you can see each other clearly.
  • A quiet space so there is little distraction and your privacy is protected.

Often, your healthcare provider will use headphones for clear audio and for privacy.

Like any appointment, it is important to join the video/virtual meeting on time. This appointment will be recorded in your medical record, just like any other.

Your provider will usually start the appointment a few minutes early to greet you and help you connect.

You will see your provider on the screen, and they can see you when you choose to have your video on. You can have your care discussion and your provider can share their screen so you can view information they want you to see.

Who can provide virtual care services?

Virtual appointments are an eligible expense, provided the healthcare practitioner is

  • licensed and registered in the province in which they are practicing, and
  • practicing within the guidelines of their governing body.

The practitioner must be allowed by their college or governing body to offer virtual care to their patients.

Some healthcare professionals need to be licensed in both the jurisdiction in which they are located and the jurisdiction where you, the patient, are located.

A number of medical associations, like the Canadian Psychological Association, have released guidelines on how to provide telemedicine, or virtual and remote delivery care. These guidelines ensure that your visit is private and your information is secure.

What services can be delivered?

The types of care you can receive depend on your provider and the nature of the services you need. Claims will be accepted for services delivered remotely by:

  • dieticians
  • psychologists
  • social workers
  • speech therapists
  • audiologists
  • chiropractors
  • naturopaths
  • occupational therapists
  • physiotherapists

Your healthcare provider will be able to offer a complete and clear description of the services they can provide.

How do you make a claim?

Submit your claims online and use direct deposit to receive your claims payments. You have 12 months from the date charges are incurred to submit your claim.

Most health insurance providers supply a free app that gives you 24/7 mobile access to your benefits — any time, from anywhere. You can use it on your iPhone or iPad, or your Android phone or tablet. Use the internet browser on your device to go to your health insurance carrier’s website, and you will find one of the app store links. Alternatively, you can open the app store on your device and search for the application (information about the app will be provided with your plan details).

Usually, you must be registered for your insurer’s online claim services and accept the online claims submission agreement before you can access your claims app. (To register, you will be required to confirm a few personal details, create a username and password, and provide answers to three challenge questions.) Then all you need is your health insurance policy number and the password you use to log in.

You can search your claims history for access to the real-time status of recently submitted claims, and view the details of previously submitted claims.

SBIS is available remotely too!

Remember, you can always contact our knowledgeable staff to walk you through the process and offer tips that can help you make your health insurance claims. It’s an effective strategy to ensure you don’t run into a problem — and you’ll have real peace of mind. At SBIS, we work on your behalf to help you get the most out of your insurance coverage. We are your advocate and the industry professional in your corner.

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