3rd Quarter 2020 Benefits Corner

by User Not Found | Jul 03, 2020

Benefits Corner 

By Bill Dodge, CRA Benefits Chair

Bill Dodge

 

Telemedicine

“THE FUTURE OF HEALTHCARE IS HERE   The pandemic has turned telehealth from a ‘maybe, one day’ to a ‘right here, right now ,’” according to an article in the June 2020 AARP.ORG / BULLETIN.

Few Americans had ever used telemedicine. With the COVID-19 pandemic in full swing, some practitioners report that up to 95 percent of patient visits are now “virtual.” Both insurance companies and health providers are advertising their telemedicine offerings.

Telemedicine, defined as a visit between a patient and a health care provider by telephone, smartphone, tablet, or computer, is just one part of telehealth, which also includes programs such as at-home patient monitoring and physician-to-physician consultations.

 For the past several years, Telemedicine has been talked about as the wave of the future. But radical changes in federal and state regulations and insurance policies were necessary over the past few months, as well as a change in consumer awareness and behavior. For example, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have temporarily lifted regulations that prevented reimbursement for telemedicine visits outside of rural areas and did not allow doctors to treat patients across state lines.

 An AARP How-to-Guide to help those new to the Telemedicine process suggests the following key steps:

 Step 1:  Consider Your Condition (Telemedicine is effective for issues that are relatively mild)

Step 2:  Check Your Insurance to verify coverage

Step 3:  Pick a Provider offering telehealth visits

Step 4:  Prepare for Your Visit (use technological device, stable internet connection, quiet room, list of questions)               

Step 5:  See the Doctor Online (i.e., using Facetime, Skype, Google Hangout, or Zoom)

Step 6:  After the examination, follow doctor’s recommendations/instructions.

Updated COVID-19 Informational Websites

The CRA Leadership Team and the CRA Benefits Committee have continued to follow closely the updates and recommendations from leading health authorities, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes of Health, and the World Health Organization (WHO), and we trust you will find these updated weblinks helpful. 

•    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Coronavirus

         https://cdc.gov/coronavirus/index.html

•    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Coronavirus -- Situation Summary

      https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/summary.html

•    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Coronavirus FAQs

     https://cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html

•   World Health Organization - Coronavirus -- Rolling Updates

     https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/events-as-they-happen

•   World Health Organization - Coronavirus Q&A

     https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses

 

CRA MetLife Dental Plan Website Update

The website for the CRA Dental Plan administered by MetLife will be updated soon to provide easier access to desired information about the plan.  Participating Chevron members and their dependents, as well as non-participating Chevron retirees seeking information about the plan, will be encouraged to view this updated website. Upon completion of the updated website, notice to members of the release date of this updated website will be provided on the CRA website home page and will also be communicated to members through local chapter media, where applicable.  

Bill Dodge, Benefits Chair --  Phone: (832) 934-0680   Email: crabenefits9@gmail.com