Telehealth at the Center of New Humana Primary Care Plan

Telehealth at the Center of New Human Primary Care Plan: Image of hand holding a mobile phone during a video chat with a clinician.Virtual care continues to expand as patients, providers and payers look for innovative ways to reduce costs and increase access. And now, San Francisco-based telemedicine provider Doctor on Demand has partnered with Humana on a new primary care health plan called On Hand to offer comprehensive care remotely for sharply lower premiums than those of traditional plans.

While many health plans offer virtual care services, these services typically have suffered from low utilization. By making virtual care the centerpiece of this plan design, Humana hopes to drive up usage while driving down costs.

The plan, available to Humana members in June, will give patients access to a dedicated primary care physician as well as access to preventive, urgent and behavioral health care through video visits. The plan reportedly will be priced between $150 and $200 per month with no co-pays for any video visits through Doctor on Demand.

Plan members will have a $5 co-pay for common lab services and prescriptions and will receive a medical device kit with a digital blood pressure cuff, thermometer and log. Members also will have access to their digital health records and more control over how they are shared. If needed, members will receive doctor or specialist referrals for in-person visits that stay within the Humana network.

The virtual primary care health plan will be the first to use Doctor on Demand’s updated Synapse platform. That platform enables Doctor on Demand’s payer and employer customers to more easily link their provider networks with the telehealth company’s personal medical group, which has expanded to include nurse practitioners, pharmacists, dietitians and care coordinators.

The timing of this move could also prove beneficial, with physicians increasingly participating in telehealth. A recent survey by American Well found that one in five physicians now offering virtual care visits and 61 percent of physicians who don’t offer virtual visits are either very likely or likely to offer telehealth services by 2022.

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