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The benefits of telehealth services

Adult female explaining illness to doctor online via video chat

There are a number of telehealth benefits to consider when choosing health insurance coverage.

Telehealth has many benefits, including convenience. This secure method of accessing health care lets you have a live video visit with a provider from your home. To have a telehealth visit, all you need is a smartphone, tablet, or computer with a camera and microphone.

The COVID-19 pandemic increased awareness of telehealth as more providers and patients adapted to changes in the way that care can be delivered. At the beginning of the pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a 154 percent increase in telehealth visits compared with the same period in 2019 [1]. Today, many providers offer telehealth services for routine care.

At UPMC Health Plan, we understand the benefits of telehealth and the demand for digital access to care. Would coverage for telehealth care be something you’d want from your health insurance plan? Let’s learn more about how telehealth could benefit you.

Telehealth benefits to consider

Telehealth services—like the options we offer through UPMC Health Plan—give you access to multiple providers, regardless of your location. This can be very helpful if you live far from a large city or your provider’s office. It also can come in handy if you are too busy to go to an in-person appointment. Having this access can save you time and money because you won’t need to travel for care.

What telehealth looks like

Telehealth can be used in different ways:

  • Doctor visits give you access to providers from the comfort of your home. Talk with your doctor to learn which platforms and virtual services they offer.
  • Urgent care services like UPMC AnywhereCare are a convenient way to get a medical evaluation from home or your workplace if you’re experiencing common conditions like a cold or sore throat, or you think you have symptoms of COVID-19. UPMC AnywhereCare providers [2] are available over live video 24/7, and UPMC Health Plan members can use their mobile device or computer to have an appointment [3].
  • Health coaching is another care option that some health plans offer. UPMC Health Plan members can work with a health coach digitally or via telephone to reach their health and wellness goals. UPMC Health Plan also offers a range of virtually supported mental and behavioral health care services.
  • Counseling sessions are commonly offered through telehealth platforms. Through UPMC AnywhereCare, eligible members have access to virtual counseling sessions for mental and behavioral health care.
  • Digital health management tools and mobile apps, such as RxWell, also support
    well-being. RxWell is designed to help members improve their mental and physical health using self-guided activities and support from a health coach. UPMC Health Plan offers many other digital health and wellness tools to help our members manage their health.

UPMC VirtualCare health insurance plan

UPMC VirtualCare, our newest plan, allows members to get convenient, low-cost care virtually or in person. Members have:

  • $0 copays for primary, urgent, and behavioral health care virtual visits.
  • Reduced copays for virtual specialist visits.
  • The option to have a virtual or in-person initial visit.
  • The choice to see their doctor in person with cost sharing.
  • Access to high-quality UPMC providers, plus additional participating providers (in the UPMC Select Network).
  • Digital onboarding. We make life easier by giving members step-by-step instructions.
  •  All the other benefits of a UPMC Health Plan!                                        

Other UPMC Health Plan telehealth benefits

UPMC Health Plan offers its members many ways to take care of their health. In addition to UPMC AnywhereCare, RxWell, and virtual provider visits, our members can call a Health Care Concierge to learn which telehealth benefits their plan includes and speak to a nurse for health advice through the UPMC MyHealth 24/7 Nurse Line [4].

Members can log in to MyHealth OnLine to chat with a Health Care Concierge, or they can send a secure message or live chat in the free UPMC Health Plan mobile app.

Shopping for health insurance coverage for 2022? Head to the UPMC Health Plan Marketplace to explore UPMC Health Plan’s individual and family plans, including our UPMC VirtualCare plan. You can also visit us at a UPMC Health Plan Connect Center near you.

[1] Trends in the use of telehealth during the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic—United States, January–March 2020. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Reviewed Oct. 30, 2020. Accessed Sept. 23, 2021. cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6943a3.htm

[2] UPMC Health Plan members located in Pennsylvania at the time of a virtual visit may select a UPMC-employed provider or a provider from Online Care Network II PC (OCN), subject to availability and discretion of the provider. Members located outside of Pennsylvania will receive service from OCN. OCN is not an affiliate of UPMC. Limitations may apply for members of Administrative Services Only (ASO) plans that have opted out of coverage. During the COVID-19 emergency, UPMC for You and UPMC Community HealthChoices members located outside of Pennsylvania will receive service from OCN. After the COVID-19 emergency, UPMC AnywhereCare virtual visits will not be covered services when UPMC for You and UPMC Community HealthChoices members are traveling outside of Pennsylvania.


[3] UPMC Health Plan provides free aids and services to help people communicate effectively with us. These may include language services for people whose primary language is not English and qualified sign language interpreters. Your provider will connect you to these services during the visit.

[4] UPMC nurses who answer calls are licensed to assist members in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, New York, and Ohio. Members must be located in one of those states when calling the UPMC MyHealth 24/7 Nurse Line. The UPMC MyHealth 24/7 Nurse Line is not a substitute for medical care. If an emergency arises, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department. Nurses cannot answer plan or benefit questions. Please call the Member Services phone number on your member ID card for nonclinical inquiries.