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IBX Insights

Get Care from Home with Telemedicine

Father talking to doctor on video call about ill son

Independence Blue Cross has offered telemedicine benefits to our health plan members for years. It gives members convenient, 24/7 access to a doctor by phone or video chat for non-emergency medical conditions. Without telemedicine, your only care option might have been urgent care or the ER if you were out of town, couldn’t get an appointment, or it was after office hours.

Now, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the way we receive non-emergency care has completely changed. Telemedicine has rapidly expanded in the past year. It has become an important tool that allows people to visit with their doctor safely, without the risk of being exposed or exposing others to COVID-19. To encourage social distancing and increase access to care, Independence Blue Cross has expanded coverage of telemedicine.

Members Are Covered for Telemedicine Visits with Their PCP

Many primary care physician (PCP) and specialist offices are offering telemedicine visits to keep their patients safe at home. In this crisis, it’s becoming one of the primary ways to receive care. Telemedicine visits allow your doctor to see if they can help you without seeing you in person or having you go to an ER or urgent care center.

If your doctor does not offer telemedicine visits, Independence Blue Cross health plan members can also access telemedicine through MDLIVE.

Talk to an MDLIVE Doctor 24/7

Telemedicine from MDLIVE, an independent company, is now more important than ever. All you need to do is activate your MDLIVE account. Then, it’s fast and easy to schedule an appointment and connect with an MDLIVE doctor by phone or video chat.

MDLIVE’s doctors are board-certified, experienced, and professionally trained to treat many non-emergency conditions. You can use telemedicine through MDLIVE to get treatment for conditions like:

  • Cold and flu
  • Ear problems
  • Pink eye
  • Respiratory problems
  • Sinus infection
  • Sore throat

If you are experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, they can assess your symptoms and help you determine what next steps of care are appropriate for you.

You can choose to have your appointment over the phone or by video chat using a computer, tablet, or smartphone. Regardless of where you are in the U.S. or what time of day it is, you can talk to a doctor, get a diagnosis, and have a prescription called in to your pharmacy (if the doctor feels it is necessary and appropriate).

Here are some of our members’ favorite things about MDLIVE:

  • Call-back option once your appointment is scheduled, so you don’t have to wait on hold
  • Having a prescription called in after visit
  • Avoiding germs at doctor offices
  • Convenience of calling anytime, from anywhere in the U.S.

Activate Your MDLIVE Account Before You Need It

When you need to talk to a doctor, you probably want to do it as soon as possible. That’s why we encourage members to set up their MDLIVE telemedicine account before they get sick. It’s quick and easy to register!

If you’re an Independence Blue Cross health plan member, simply text IBX to 635-483 to set up your account. Sophie, a virtual assistant, will help you activate your account by asking a series of questions. Just be sure to have your member ID number handy.

Create an account for your dependents, too, so you’re ready to talk to a doctor for them. Pediatricians are available to treat children.

Then, when you need to talk to a doctor, sign in on your computer or through the MDLIVE app from Google Play or the Apple Store. After your visit, you’ll receive discharge instructions and you can request that an update be sent to your doctor.

Some employer health plans may not include coverage for telemedicine services. Check your benefits booklet to determine if telemedicine is available for you.


Dr. Ronald J. Brooks MD, FACP

I joined Independence Blue Cross in 2003 after practicing Internal Medicine, Geriatrics and population health. In my current role, I function as the medical liaison to physicians, hospital systems, and provide clinical guidance to programs at Independence. What excites me about my job is the opportunity to design and implement programs that benefit large populations.