Capital BlueCross offers AmWell video visits to its members

By Aditi Pai
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AmwellHarrisburg, Pennsylvania-based health insurance company Capital BlueCross has announced that starting in 2016, the company will offer telehealth services through American Well to members enrolled in most Capital BlueCross health plans, though the payer didn't specify which health plans were not included. While Amwell typically costs $49 per video visit, a Capital BlueCross spokesperson told MobiHealthNews that its members will pay a lower fee of $39 per visit.

Capital BlueCross reaches 21 counties in the central Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley area.

"Consumers value convenience more than ever before, and health care is no exception," Capital BlueCross Director of Product Innovation Brooke Nordai said in a statement. "Connecting our customers with doctor visits by video is one more way we are changing health care for the better. Seeing a doctor will be as easy as signing on from a laptop or opening an app on your phone. More than just providing benefits, more than just paying claims, we are helping customers receive the care they need, when they need it, from wherever is most convenient for them." 

Members will be able to use American Well's app, called Amwell, on computers, tablets, and smartphones to connect with doctors, receive diagnoses for various conditions, and get prescriptions. Capital BlueCross explains that Amwell is different from its competition because patients are connected with a doctor in less than two minutes, instead of having to wait for a doctor to call them back after they request a consultation.

A few other payers have recently incorporated telehealth services into members' plans.

In April, UnitedHealthcare announced that it would cover video visits from Doctor On Demand, American Well’s AmWell, and its own Optum’s NowClinic, which is a white-labeled American Well offering.

Around the same time, MultiCare Health System announced that it would offer video visits to Washington-based patients via Doctor On Demand. The new service is co-branded as MultiCare Doctor On Demand, and allows anyone in the state of Washington to communicate with a physician about different medical issues, including flu, cough, eye infections, UTIs, and sports injuries for $40.