MVP Health Care to offer members 24/7 online doctor visits in 2017

Schenectady, N.Y. — MVP Health Care will soon offer its members a new way to access care by adding an innovative telemedicine benefit that begins on Jan. 1, 2017. With this benefit, members will be able to access health care professionals – including physicians, behavioral health specialists, nutritionists, and lactation consultants – through a mobile device or computer and web cam anytime, anywhere in the U.S.

MVP’s plan is different from many other telemedicine plans in two ways. First, it will be available to members of all its fully insured plans, as well as to Medicare, Medicaid and Essential Plan members. Many other plans exclude Medicaid and Medicare members. Also, members can use telemedicine to connect with behavioral health care providers, something many telemedicine plans do not allow. Licensed clinical social workers and psychologists will all be available for phone or video consultations. This feature will help ease anxiety for patients who are anxious about leaving their homes, or who feel stigmatized by seeking behavioral health services.

“We want to ensure that our members get the best possible health care in the setting that is most appropriate for them,” said MVP President and CEO Denise Gonick. “For some people who have urgent, but non-emergency health needs, who have limited mobility, or who live in more remote areas, that setting may sometimes be the comfort of their own home. And if talking to a behavioral health provider from home means a member keeps rather than skips an opportunity to get the assistance he or she needs, we’re providing value that just can’t be measured in dollars. We want to meet our members’ needs in a manner that is both efficient and cost effective. We see this as an opportunity to evolve health care for our members.”

MVP is partnering with American Well, a leading telehealth company, to provide these services to its members.  In addition to providers already available through Online Care Group, American Well’s clinical partner, MVP will involve as many MVP-participating health care providers as are interested in providing telehealth services to its members.

“This program is not intended to replace visits with members’ primary care physicians; we believe in fostering the PCP-patient relationship. We are excited to involve MVP-participating health care providers in this new member benefit which is borne of our commitment to ensuring our members have easy access to health care, wherever and whenever they need it,” said Gonick.

The cost to fully insured members for an online urgent care visit will be $39 toward their deductible or whatever their normal co-pay for a primary care visit would be. Medicare members will pay whatever they pay for a typical primary care visit, and there will be no cost for Medicaid members, who also qualify for no-cost, in-person health care.

Danielle Russella, president, Client Solutions, American Well, said, “MVP has always been focused on creating healthier communities by delivering products and services that positively affect health and wellness. With telehealth, MVP is optimizing care by making it more accessible and convenient for their members. We applaud the vision of incorporating an innovative, impactful benefit and are proud to partner with MVP.”

Telemedicine is one of the fastest growing areas of health care.  By 2018, the number of patients using telemedicine globally will increase to 7 million, up from less than 350,000 in 2013. A recent study found that almost 75 percent of all doctor, urgent care, and ER visits are either unnecessary or could be handled safely and effectively over the phone or video (Sources:  IHS, Inc., American Medical Association and Wellness Council of America).

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About MVP Health Care: MVP Health Care is a nationally recognized, community-focused, not-for-profit health insurer serving more than 700,000 members in New York and Vermont. Committed to the complete well-being of its members, MVP provides the tools and information they need to achieve better health and peace of mind. For more information, visit www.mvphealthcare.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mvphealthcare, and on Twitter at @MVPHealthCare.

About American Well: American Well transforms health care delivery through telehealth. American Well makes online doctor visits accessible to everyone for one-off care issues like colds or infections, and chronic condition management, such as diabetes or depression. American Well delivers health care into people’s homes and workplaces through our work with top health plans, health systems and employers, as well as its telehealth app, Amwell. A patient using Amwell can connect to a board-certified doctor of their choosing in just minutes for a visit carried out over smartphone, tablet, kiosk, phone, or desktop. American Well and Amwell are registered trademarks or trademarks of American Well Corporation in the United States and other countries. All other trademarks used herein are the property of their respective owners. For more information on American Well’s services, visit www.americanwell.com. To download Amwell and have a doctor visit now, visit www.amwell.com.