Telehealth and Telemedicine
Telehealth and Telemedicine give you the option of having a virtual doctor visit by telephone, email or video chat for various conditions. Plan coverage and cost may vary. View our FAQs for more information.
Visit your primary care doctor or specialist via Telehealth
- Your doctor may offer remote care visits via telephone, e-mail, or video chat.
- Contact your doctor directly to find out more and/or schedule a telehealth visit.
- Ask your doctor if there will be a cost to your visit or if you are not sure, contact us.
- Learn how to prepare for your visit.
When your doctor isn’t available, we’ve partnered with MDLIVE®
- Get access to US board certified Providers for non-emergency medical and behavioral health conditions.
- Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Registering for MDLIVE is free.
- At this time MDLIVE is unable to order COVID-19 tests.
Register or Setup a visit through MDLIVE®
- Eligible members can register for MDLIVE the following ways – Online, Text, Call, or using the MDLIVE app.
- Log in to the Excellus BCBS website or mobile app to get started.
Frequently Asked Questions
Telehealth and telemedicine provide virtual health care with a provider. Your benefits may have slightly different coverage for telehealth and telemedicine.
- Telehealth with your doctor: Many of your doctors may offer telehealth services via telephone, video, or e-mail. If you don’t know if your doctor(s) offers telehealth services, simply call and ask for more details.
- Telemedicine with MDLIVE®: When your doctor isn’t available, we have partnered with MDLIVE to give our members 24/7 access to US board certified doctors for non-emergency medical services. MDLIVE also provide care with psychiatrists and other mental health providers for behavioral health conditions.
Coverage and cost may vary from plan to plan for a telehealth and telemedicine visit. For coverage and cost details, contact Excellus BCBS Customer Care at the number located on the back of your member card. Also, always check with your doctor to see if and how they offer telehealth services.
Always check with your own primary care doctor or specialist first to see if they are available either by telehealth or an in-person office visit.
If your doctor is not available, you’re out of town or not able to get into their office for any reason, telemedicine (MDLIVE) may be an option for you. There are some conditions and medications that MDLIVE is unable to treat or prescribe via telemedicine. Prior to setting up your appointment, verify that MDLIVE can treat you properly through telemedicine.
- Non-emergency medical conditions (cold & flu, pink eye, sinus infections, rashes, insect bites, allergies, etc.)*
- Behavioral health conditions (depression, substance use, anxiety, bipolar disorder, etc.)*
- Remote patient monitoring for chronic conditions (diabetes, hypertension, etc.)
- Follow-ups or checkups (medication changes or refills)
- Skin conditions (acne, dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis)
- Heart conditions (AFib, etc.)
- And many more specialty conditions…
Your doctor’s office can help you understand what telehealth options they offer.
* Conditions that can be treated via telemedicine as well (coverage may vary by plan)
Your doctor’s office can help prepare you for a telehealth visit. You may need access to a specific website, portal or mobile app for your visit. Others may offer telehealth via phone only.
As a reminder, before your visit, be sure to check that your internet, wi-fi and phone connections will allow you to access your doctor’s online portal or mobile site.
The following information may be needed at the time of a telehealth or telemedicine visit:
- Any vital signs such as weight, blood pressure, glucose, body temperature
- Current medications and over-the-counter medications/supplements you are taking
- Signs and symptoms that you have been experiencing and for how long
- Previous medical history (surgeries, illnesses, etc.). Your consent is typically required and may be requested through the online portal or mobile site. Consent can be verbal or written.
When appropriate, you may receive a prescription (depending on applicable state laws) at the time of your telehealth or telemedicine visit. Prescriptions can be electronically sent to a nearby pharmacy.
- If permissible in the applicable state, health care providers and nurse practitioners providing consultations may prescribe a wide range of products that include antibiotics and antihistamines. Often the supply will be no more than 30 days.
- If you have a chronic illness, you should visit your primary care doctor or other specialist for extended care.
- Please note that MDLIVE providers do not issue prescriptions for substances controlled by the Drug Enforcement Administration, medications for non-therapeutic use, and/or medications that may have a potential for abuse or addiction. Also, if you travel out-of-state, consult with MDLIVE to review whether prescriptions are permitted via telemedicine in the state you’re in.
Telehealth: Please check with your doctor for their specific guidelines and what conditions they are able to treat through telehealth.
Telemedicine via MDLIVE: The following medical conditions CANNOT be treated:
- Males with Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) signs and symptoms
- Females under the age of 18 with UTI signs and symptoms
- Children under the age of 12 with earache conditions
- Children under the age of 3 for fever-related conditions
The following behavioral health condition CANNOT be treated:
- Children under the age of 10 for any behavioral health conditions
Register for MDLIVE the following ways – Online, Text, Call, or using the MDLIVE app.
Eligible members can log in to the Excellus BCBS website or mobile app to get started.
If your plan includes MDLIVE as a covered benefit:
- You will need your member insurance ID card number when registering. Don’t forget to include the three-letter prefix along with the nine-digit number (i.e. ABC123456789).
- Be sure to check the box that asks, “Do you receive MDLIVE as a benefit?” Type Excellus BCBS when asked to enter the name of the organization.
- Dependents under the age of 18 need to be registered under the subscriber in MDLIVE.
- Click on “Add dependent” on the homepage and complete the requested information.
- Dependents over the age of 18 will need to register with MDLIVE and create their own username and password.
- Log in to your Excellus BCBS member account or use the MDLIVE App
- Complete your Health Profile (if you haven’t done so already)
- Choose the type of appointment (cost for your visit will display)
- Complete the short questionnaire for the reason you are seeking care
- Select a health care professional and/or schedule your appointment
- Non-emergency medical visits can be on demand or scheduled
- Behavioral health visits require you to schedule an appointment
If you had a visit with a provider and would like to have another consultation with them, you can view your past visits in the Consultation History of your MDLIVE account.
You can pay for your telehealth or telemedicine visit by credit card, health savings account (HSA), health reimbursement account (HRA) or flexible spending account (FSA) card.
When using MDLIVE, you will be prompted to provide payment information prior to your visit. The payment will be processed when the visit is complete.
Check with your doctor when using telehealth.
When using telemedicine via MDLIVE, they may provide an excuse that is valid for four days from the consultation. The note can be requested by a member no later than two days after their medical consultation.
Check with your doctor when using telehealth.
Excuse notes related to behavioral health conditions are at the sole discretion of the MDLIVE provider. If the MDLIVE provider chooses to provide a school/work excuse note, it would be only for the exact time it took to attend the session. Any additional time off needed is considered a more serious mental health condition that would require a level of care higher than telemedicine.
When you register and set up your account with MDLIVE, you are encouraged to input your primary care doctor’s information, which can be saved. At the end of each visit with an MDLIVE provider, you will have the option to have a clinical summary of your visit electronically faxed directly to your own primary care doctor.
Technical difficulties can arise, which is why testing the audio and video prior to your visit is very important.
- Disconnected during visit: If you get disconnected during your visit, you may not have to pay. Check with the provider with whom you were just speaking and either reconnect or reschedule. There may be a chat option on the site you are using.
- Trouble launching the website: Ensure that your cookies/pop-up blocker is disabled.
- Website browser / mobile app versions: Check to be sure you’re using a browser (e.g. Edge, Chrome, etc.) that is recommended for the website you are using and/or have the most current version of any mobile app.
- If you experience difficulties with telemedicine, please call MDLIVE’s customer support.
Excellus BlueCross BlueShield is an HMO plan and PPO plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in Excellus BlueCross BlueShield depends on contract renewal. Submit a complaint about your Medicare plan at www.Medicare.gov or learn about filing a complaint by contacting the Medicare Ombudsman. Y0028_8830_C.
This page last updated 10-01-2022.