Healthcare insurance company WellPoint is now marketing an American Well-powered video visits service called LiveHealth Online to its members and other consumers across the US. The service is available to anyone living in the 44 states where telehealth is legal and in Washington DC for $49 per session. Each session lasts about 10 minutes and physicians are able to prescribe some medications if appropriate, but about a half dozen states do not allow physicians to prescribe medications to patients as part of an online video visit yet.
The service is also now a covered benefit to some members with Anthem Blue Cross, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield health plan members. The insurance company aims to provide the service in all the states where it has health plans available over the next few years, but the remaining states would have to make such a service legal before it could roll it out.
The LiveHealth is available around the clock and each day of the year. It includes two-way video chats with a US-based, board certified primary care doctor.
WellPoint pitches the LiveHealth Online service "as a cost-effective alternative to urgent care or retail clinics" in one recent release. The company first launched LiveHealth in California and Ohio at the beginning of 2013, but as its partner American Well rolled out to all of the 44 states in October of last year, WellPoint's reskinned version of the service likely widened its availability around the same time. The direct-to-consumer launch in October for American Well was the first time the traditionally b-to-b company launched its own branded version of the video visit platform. If they are paying out of pocket, consumers can choose to use American Well's services through LiveHealth or through the American Well-branded version of the app -- both cost the same.
UnitedHealth Group offers NowClinic a similar offering that is only available to UnitedHealth members and dependents. It's also only available in varying forms in about two dozen states, according to the NowClinic website.