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How to get health care in the time of COVID-19

Even though the world's attention is focused on the coronavirus pandemic, adults and kids may still need a doctor for other reasons. But during these times, is it even safe to see your doctor?

Consumer Reports reveals some high-tech ways to get an office visit without leaving your home.

First, you should check with your primary care doctor to see if he or she offers some form of telemedicine through video, phone, or email. You can also check with your insurance company. Many of them offer access to at-home healthcare options.

There are also telemedicine options if you’re uninsured. Walk-in clinics and urgent care clinics can be an affordable way to get care.

An urgent care or walk-in retail clinic may offer video consults with a healthcare provider for a flat fee. For example, the Minute Clinics at CVS offer video visits 24/7 that cost $59 in most states.

If you live in a major metropolitan area, you may be able to find virtual care from a growing number of tech companies. Carbon Health, for example, accepts many insurance plans and offers virtual visits for a flat fee of $49.

Telemedicine can be helpful in deciding whether you need to go to a doctor’s office or to an emergency room. It’s important to remember, though, that if you suspect you’re dealing with an emergency, call 911 right away.

And if you need something like contact lenses or a hearing aid, there are a number of companies offering online eye exams and hearing tests. But some healthcare providers say those tests are not a substitute for a comprehensive in-office exam.