Check with your provider today—you may be able to see your doctor from the comfort of your own home.
What is telehealth?
Telehealth is the use of technology for health care appointments and services. It allows you to “see” your care provider without having to go to their office. Visits are covered by MaineCare, Medicare, and most insurance companies.
What kind of appointments can I have using telehealth?
Conversations with your doctor about your chronic health care, diagnosis and treatment of new illnesses, and other medical care
Physicals, mental health, substance use disorder treatment and some developmental disability services
Routine child check-ups and developmental services
How do I use telehealth?
Mobile apps, such as MD Live, FaceTime, WhatsApp, video chat, and Skype
Video conferencing platforms such as Zoom or WebEx
Patient portal message and telephone calls without video are considered "virtual health" visits
How do I ask for a telehealth appointment?
- Call your care provider and ask if you can use telehealth for your appointment. This may also be an option for your children’s health care needs.
- They will tell you about the best way to use telehealth for your appointment.
What if I don't have a smartphone or internet access?
Call your doctor and discuss options for your appointments. If you do not have a smartphone but have a computer, you may be able to do a telehealth visit on your computer. If you do not have a computer or internet access, you may be able to conduct your appointment over telephone with audio (voice) only.
If you need help with paying for your phone, cell minutes, or internet access, you can also apply for Lifeline, a federal program that’s available to help eligible individuals pay for their cell phone minutes and internet access.
How much data will this use?
Some face-to-face video chats can use a lot of data. Using WiFi can reduce the amount of cell phone data you use. If you have a limited amount of data, call your doctor’s office and discuss your options. There may be options that don’t use as much data, such as a phone call or sharing pictures and text, if necessary. You can also contact your phone carrier if you have questions on your data limits.
Do I have to use telehealth to see a doctor?
If it is an emergency, you should go to the Emergency Department. While many doctors are seeing patients in person, you lower your risk of being exposed to COVID-19 by using telehealth for non-emergency care, when possible. Talk with your doctor about the best way to get care for your health issues.
What if I need an interpreter?
An interpreter can be available during a telehealth visit, like they are for an in-person appointment. Your provider's office will contact you before your telehealth appointment to talk about what you need for the appointment and may ask if you need an interpreter. If they don't ask, you can request one. If your provider doesn't call or email you before your visit, you should call the office to request an interpreter.
Your provider will arrange to have the interpreter join your telehealth visit. You will see both your provider and your interpreter on your screen. If you are receiving care at a hospital or health clinic, the interpreter may join you in person or from another location. You can also talk with your provider about having your family member or friend join you as an interpreter if you prefer.
How can I be sure it's safe to use telehealth?
You should always be careful when using technology, whether it’s for health care, banking, or simply connecting with family and friends. Your privacy is very important to us and your healthcare provider.
There are some simple things you can do to help make sure that your telehealth visit is safe and secure:
- Ask your health care provider if the technology they are using is HIPAA-compliant – this means that it meets the federal government’s strict privacy and security standards. HIPAA-compliant technologies make it much more difficult for hackers to access your information, or get access to a telehealth visit uninvited.
- Make sure you are located in a private space before you start your telehealth visit and be sure your provider is also in a private space once you are connected via audio/video. A room with a door that can be closed is best to avoid interruptions and prevent others from hearing your discussion with your provider.
- Use a private network to connect to the internet, which is one that requires a password to join, such as your home network. Do not use public networks such as those at coffee shops or libraries to join a telehealth visit, as these are much less secure, and your information and privacy may be at risk.
To view this webpage as a document, see the Telehealth Questions and Answers (PDF).
- Northeast Telehealth Resource Center (NTRC) Telehealth Perspectives Video
- National Consortium of Telehealth Resource Center Consumer Handout (PDF)
- National Consortium of Telehealth Resource Center Patients Engaging in Telehealth (PDF)
- University of Hawaii and Pacific Basin Telehealth Resource Center Video - What to Expect from a Telehealth Visit?
- Telehealth @ Home – A Guidebook for People Who Will Receive Home-Based Telehealth Services
- Caravan Health – Patient Instructions for a Successful Telehealth Visit (PDF)
- Member Resources
Call MaineCare Member Services with questions at 1-800-977-6740. TTY users dial 711.