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Staying healthy with telemedicine in a changed world

By Tom O'Reilly

Telemedicine has become a popular way for Medicare members to receive care.

Getting care via a phone visit with a doctor, an online chat with a pharmacist or even a wellness app on your smartphone can be fast and convenient. But many people who have a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan have only scratched the surface of the services they can access outside the clinic.

Whether you’re dealing with an acute or chronic physical or behavioral condition or you just want to be active, you have options through virtual care with Aetna®.

Here are some of the virtual offerings available to MA members and tips on how to take advantage of them.

Telemedicine and virtual health options

The most common form of telemedicine is meeting with your provider virtually, by phone or in a video chat. Many people use technology this way to get health care. In 2023, Aetna MA members will continue to be able to access their primary care physicians or urgent care using telemedicine. 

According to J.D. Power 2022 US Medicare Advantage Study, nearly one-quarter of adults surveyed said they used telehealth within the past year. Among these, 48 percent said they are very likely to use it again.1

If you’re thinking about using virtual care, here are a few tips to keep in mind: 

  • The Aetna® app provides more information. You can find it in the Apple and Google app stores. 
  • If you’re a member and unsure about your options, just call the phone number on your member ID card.  
  • If you’re concerned about privacy, just ask your provider if the virtual care offering is secure and private. 

Resources For Living® program (RFL)

Resources For Living is available to all Aetna Medicare Advantage plan members and their caregivers. With the program, caring consultants provide personal support for your health journey by helping you find local resources and services. Calls are at no extra cost to you. You just pay for any services you want to use. 

Members can call Resources For Living to get help with:

  • Grocery delivery, transportation and other services
  • Housekeeping, home maintenance and yard care
  • Senior living options, adult day care and caregiver support

It’s easy to use. Just call Resources For Living at 1-866-370-4842 ${tty}.

You can talk with someone Monday to Friday, 8 AM to 6 PM in your local time zone. 

Ask a nurse 24/7

Another telemedicine tool for all Aetna Medicare members is the Nurse Hotline. Registered nurses are available around the clock to help members:

  • Decide whether to see their doctors or get urgent care
  • Understand symptoms
  • Manage chronic conditions
  • Learn about treatment options and medical procedures

When you call 1-800-556-1555 ${tty} anytime, a nurse will ask for your medical history. Then they can help, whether it’s with managing a chronic condition or promoting a healthy lifestyle. 

SilverSneakers® fitness benefit

Exercise can improve not only your physical health, but also your mental and emotional well-being. SilverSneakers connects Aetna MA members to programs at local gyms. It also offers a variety of virtual exercise classes like high-intensity dance workouts, yoga and even a “Sit and Get Fit” class. The program also has an active Facebook following.  

According to the 2021 SilverSneakers Annual Member Survey, 95 percent of SilverSneaker members who took part in activities said they were in “excellent,” “very good” or “good” health. Another 88 percent reported the program improved their quality of life. And 86 percent felt healthier as a result of using the program.2

From telemedicine to personalized support, virtual care offerings offer MA members an easy and convenient way to get the care they need. “Customers Perceive Shortfall in Medicare Advantage Plan Coverage of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, J.D. Power Finds.” August 18, 2022. Available at: Accessed February 26, 2023.

2 “2021 SilverSneakers Annual Member Survey Records High Net Promoter Score, Member Satisfaction.” February 9, 2022. Available at: Accessed February 26, 2023.


See Evidence of Coverage for a complete description of plan benefits, exclusions, limitations and conditions of coverage. Plan features and availability may vary by service area.


About the author

Tom O’Reilly is a writer and editor based in Austin, Texas, focused on science, health and technology. He enjoys indie music and spinning, although his Shih Tzu mix Max is afraid of the Peloton in the corner.

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