Some of us are old enough to remember the song, "Won't Be Fooled Again" by the Who and a few others singing about not getting fooled again. Everyday I feel like I get fooled again and again by the big insurance companies.
Most major health insurance companies now embed some sort of telemedicine product in their policies. Not because they want to, but because that have to. Based on my most recent research 38 states require telemedicine to be included in your health insurance policy. So the insurance companies bury the benefit deep in the policy and then don't tell you about it.
The problem is, the telemedicine "requirement" for offering telemedicine is vague at best and generally goes like this:
- You have telemedicine but it doesn't cover your spouse or family
- There is a hefty co-pay every time you use it, ranging from $25-$99 per call per person
- It goes against your utilization (I'll cover this in a minute)
- It probably does not count toward your annual deductible (I'll explain)
- It only covers medical visits and generally it still takes a long time to actually speak with a real doctor, if you get that far. (but you still pay your co-pay upfront)
The truth is telemedicine embedded in your health insurance plan doesn't do much good for anyone. It increases utilization. Which means if you use your benefit it counts as a negative when you go to renew the following year, and guess what, even if you don't use your telemedicine but others on the same group plan can cause your insurance premiums to bump up 10-12% higher the next year. What's fair about that?
I've had health insurance for many, many years and rarely use it, if at all. But my premiums still go up every year even though I have never reached my annual deductible. Which means I make my premium payment, I pay my copays, I pay my annual deductible, I pay for office visits and.... well you get the idea. CNN just ran a story that the average health insurance plan cost nearly $20,000 through an employer plan. You call that affordable?
It's easier to understand if you compare health insurance to car insurance. Everything will be OK as long as you don't use it.
Don't get me wrong, telemedicine is a great product if structured and used properly. The problem is employer provided telemedicine is expensive and limited. That's why we spear headed a telemedicine product that makes sense.
First, it includes Unlimited Medical Visits, Unlimited Dermatology Visits, Unlimited Prescription Benefit Plan and a very important benefit is our Behavioral and Mental Health counseling which is included. This plan covers your entire household for less then $35 a month and No Copays, No Deductibles. One Family. One Price.
There is even a plan that offers a special discounted program for Veterans, Military, First Responders and their families.
We are disrupting the health insurance industry through technology and by giving better access to affordable healthcare to everyone.