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Are Annual Doctor Visits Essential? How to Know Which Exams You Can Delay and Which You Shouldn’t

July 2020

In light of COVID-19, you may have postponed preventive care or even more urgently needed exams or procedures. As stay-at-home orders lift and businesses open back up, you may be wondering when the right time is to reschedule that exam or procedure. The short answer: Hospitals and medical offices are now resuming care for essential services, but you should talk to your doctor about what is best for your health.

What to Consider When You Need Care

You don’t want to ignore an ongoing health issue or an upcoming exam, but your doctor’s office may not be conducting in-person visits yet. Or maybe you have an ongoing condition that puts your health at risk, and you’re not sure an in-person visit is safe.

Guidelines to Follow

  • If your annual visit has been canceled, don’t assume it’s OK to skip it this year. Call your doctor’s office and ask if and when it should be rescheduled. Many providers are offering telephone and/or online video visits in lieu of in-person exams, which may work for certain types of care.
  • When speaking to your doctor’s office, tell them about any new health issues so they can determine the best next steps for you, and when those steps need to occur.
  • Check in with your doctor about ongoing conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease, and how best to manage them during this time.
  • Review your prescriptions and their expiration dates to see if you need your doctor to refill them. If you have an ongoing condition, consider the home delivery pharmacy to have your medications sent directly to your home.

Most importantly, don’t ignore needed exams or procedures. And if alternatives to in-person care are recommended, check with your doctor’s office to see if they’re offering telephone and/or video chats to receive care without leaving your home. Your UC PPO plan currently covers telehealth visits at no cost to you. And don’t forget, your UC PPO plan includes LiveHealth Online, which provides you with board-certified doctors who can diagnose, recommend and prescribe medication for many common non-emergency medical and behavioral health issues via video. All you need is a desktop or laptop computer, a tablet, or an Android or iOS mobile device.

Also available to you is the Anthem 24/7 NurseLine, a hotline staffed by registered nurses who can answer your health questions anytime at no cost. To reach the 24/7 NurseLine, call (800) 977-0027.