Benefits Brief: Telemedicine Basics

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Wednesday, April 1, 2020

As everyone is working to stay at home as much as possible, you and your family may find you need to address routine or minor medical issues. Two of Lehigh’s benefits providers - Capital BlueCross and United Concordia Dental (UCCI) - have shared virtual health care information that could be an option for you.


Capital BlueCross Waiving Member Cost Share for Virtual Health through April 15

Lehigh staff and faculty who participate in our medical plan can take advantage of Capital BlueCross Virtual Care at any time with copays of $10 for PPO, PPO+ and HMO subscribers and $59 for HDHP subscribers. However, until April 15, visits to Virtual Care for medical services are free. Additionally, Capital BlueCross is waiving the member cost share of telehealth services from eligible in-network (including BlueCard) providers. Check with your physician to see if they offer this service.

Telehealth visits either through the Virtual Care app or with your regular in-network physician is a great alternative when you need to see a doctor. This is especially true as the Lehigh Valley is under a stay-at-home order.

With telehealth visits, you:

  • Avoid being infected by others.
  • Can get care from the safety and comfort of home.
  • Don't run the risk of infecting others with whatever ails you.

Doctors are available every hour, every day of the week, even on holidays through the Virtual Care app, or check with your in-network physician for their telehealth hours. Get in touch on your smartphone, tablet, or PC.

If you haven't yet registered for Virtual Care, get started now — even if you aren't sick. Register with your insurance information, including your member ID number, so that you're ready as soon as you need care. Visit the Capital BlueCross Virtual Care site for more information:

Teledentistry: An Innovative Approach to Dental Health

United Concordia subscribers may not realize that UCCI Dental benefits include teledentistry. If you have an urgent problem during COVID-19, you can seek care from the safety of home. The following information is excerpted from this recent communication from UCCI

How Teledentistry Visits Work 

During a teledentistry visit, you and the dentist stay safely in your own separate locations. Most likely, you’ll have a two-way conversation through video conference or phone. Using a digital phone or tablet, you take a high-quality picture or video of your problem and share with your dentist. 

Your dentist may already offer virtual visits through an existing teledentistry app. If not, the American Dental Association (ADA) has approved using some common social media apps, such as FaceTime, Skype, Facebook Messenger video chat, Google Hangouts video and Zoom. For security reasons, the ADA discourages using public-facing apps like Facebook Live, Twitch and TikTok. The dentist will evaluate your condition and advise what to do next. 

Getting In-Person Treatment 

In some cases, the remedy to your problem may be handled over the phone. For example, a patient with a gum infection may simply need a prescription called into the pharmacy.

Some dentists may advise that you come to the office for emergency treatment. Currently, however, some states are advising dentists not to treat patients in the office, so it’s up to your dentist to decide what to do. Your dentist will determine the best location to provide treatment, if needed. In some cases, the remedy may be handled over the phone.

When to Seek Immediate Care 

According to the ADA, get care right away for these kinds of serious problems: 

  • Bleeding that doesn’t stop 
  • Painful swelling in or around your mouth 
  • Pain in a tooth, teeth or jawbone 
  • Gum infection with pain or swelling 
  • After surgery treatment (dressing change or stitch removal) 
  • Broken or knocked out tooth 
  • Denture adjustment for people getting radiation or other cancer treatment
  • Snipping or adjusting wire of braces that hurts your cheek or gums 
  • Biopsy of abnormal tissue 

Teledentistry Claims 

Your dentist can submit your teledentistry claim for you. United Concordia will process teledentistry claims in the same timely manner you’ve come to expect. Teledentistry coverage level is subject to plan terms and conditions. For more information, visit


Reminders About Behavioral (Mental) Health Benefits

We recognize this is a difficult time for faculty and staff who are needing to make many adjustments to not only their work but also their personal lives. Your Lehigh benefits include behavioral health coverage. To access these services under Lehigh's medical plan call the number listed on the back of your Capital BlueCross Card. In addition, Lehigh's Employee Assistance Program (Integrated Behavioral Health) can be helpful regardless of whether you participate in the Lehigh medical plan.