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5 reasons to try online care

The ease of simply going online rather than taking the trip to the doc is tempting, but is it a safe bet? Read more on why we recommend it for certain cases.

By Barb Breher
August 2, 2017

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I’m pretty sure my kids get sick at the most inconvenient times. When I have a big meeting, we’re finally on vacation, or my husband and I are all ready for that coveted date night. As a member services rep, I’m always suggesting online clinics to our members for those non-urgent, every day type of illnesses, but I'd never tried one until the day my daughter came down with pink eye.

Pink eye is the call from school that every mom dreads. You need a prescription and you need it NOW, before everyone in the family gets infected. This seemed like the perfect time for me to try online care. I answered a few questions online at while my daughter stayed happily at home. In less than an hour, her prescription was ready to pick up at my pharmacy. Great! But that's not the end of the story.

A few days later I got pink eye. And then my mom got it, since she'd been helping care for my daughter. At the first sign of it, we both raced online to get our own prescription eye drops. In the end, online care saved us not one, but three doctor visits.

If you have a high-deductible health insurance plan, those doctor’s visits can really add up. You’ll get the same quality treatment at an online clinic from experienced professionals, and it’s often faster and hassle free.

Common conditions treated by online clinics

5 reasons to try an online clinic:

  • Fast and easy
  • Treatment for most common conditions
  • Certified nurse practitioners or board certified physicians
  • Flat fee, which may be covered by insurance
  • Prescriptions delivered to your pharmacy*

*Excludes lifestyle medications, addictive or controlled substances

How much does an online clinic cost?

Online clinics charge a flat fee for each treatment (in virtuwell's case, $49, and they won't charge you if they can't treat you). If you have insurance, your plan might pay for some, or all of it. The online clinic will ask for your payment and insurance information, and even submit the claim for you. And they won't bill you until the insurance claim goes through. It's that simple.

Related content: How to figure out what your health insurance plan covers

Next time you've got something minor and want a quick, safe and budget-friendly solution, give online care a shot. I think you're going to love it.

About Barb Breher

Barb Breher is a leader in the Member Services department at HealthPartners. She specializes in individual and family health plans. Barb loves helping members understand and use their coverage (it’s confusing!). When she’s not working, she loves relaxing and camping with her husband and two young daughters. Minnesota locals: she highly recommends Voyageurs National Park.

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