UnitedHealthcare is expanding its telemedicine reach to encompass 20 million enrollees, the insurer has announced.
Working in partnership with Doctor on Demand, Optum’s NowClinic and American Well, it will now offer members in self-funded employer plans 24-hour access to physicians through a mobile phone, tablet or computer.
"With this new initiative, virtual visits are covered as an in-network benefit, and are available to self-funded customers in 2015; rolling out to fully insured and individual members in 2016," Karen Scott, vice president of marketing, product & innovation for UnitedHealthcare, told HealthLeaders Media. "In 2015, 1 million members will have access to virtual visits as a covered benefit. In 2016, an additional 20 million commercial members will have access to the virtual visit network."
UnitedHealthcare’s “Virtual Visits” model lets members choose a virtual provider from whom they can receive a diagnosis and prescriptions, said Scott, who is hosting a public webinar on virtual visits on May 11.
“UnitedHealthcare is developing innovative telemedicine solutions that enable consumers, especially people who live in rural areas of the country, to access quality, cost-effective health care, whether at home or on the go,” said Jeff Alter, chief executive officer of UnitedHealthcare’s Commercial Group business. “Consumers can save time and money choosing among quality physician groups from the convenience of their smartphone, tablet or home computer at any time of the day.”
“We are grateful that UnitedHealthcare has chosen Doctor On Demand as an inaugural video visit provider,” said Adam Jackson, co-founder and chief executive officer of Doctor On Demand. “We built Doctor On Demand to provide the easiest, most convenient access to some of the best physicians in the country. In partnership with UnitedHealthcare, we can now help even more Americans get the care they need. Starting immediately, our highly rated service will be available to eligible UnitedHealthcare employer customers.”
“It’s easy to consult with a NowClinic doctor,” said Mike Weissel, executive vice president, Optum Consumer Solutions Group. “We are bringing convenient and quality, cost-effective health care directly to consumers, who can access board-certified physicians through our mobile application whenever and wherever they may need care.”
“The nation’s top health systems and health plans trust American Well to deliver an excellent patient experience,” said Ido Schoenberg, MD, chief executive officer of American Well. “We are delighted that patients served by UnitedHealthcare will now have Amwell as a covered benefit – giving them dependable and affordable access to medical care anytime.”