Kaiser Permanente launches virtual healthcare plan: 6 details 

Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington unveiled its new healthcare plan for virtual care on Sept. 10. 

Six details: 

1. The Seattle-based insurer's new Virtual Plus plan will be available starting Jan. 1, direct to consumers and employer groups. It will also be available on the health insurance exchange, pending approval from the Washington Health Benefit Exchange Board Sept. 16. 

2. Under Virtual Plus, members will see the same physicians and clinicians as they would in-person at any Kaiser Permanente facility. Their member and patient data is also integrated with their EHR. 

3. The plan also allows members to participate in virtual care via phone, online chat, video or email for non-urgent medical issues. 

4. Virtual Plus members have access to Kaiser Permanente pharmacists through an online or video visit and can get medications delivered to their home. 

5. The plan aims to provide members with affordable and predictable healthcare coverage. The health plan serves 12.4 million members in eight states and Washington, D.C. 

"Virtual care is the health care of today and tomorrow," Paul Minardi, MD, president and executive medical director of Washington Permanente Medical Group, said in the news release. "The pandemic has reinforced the need to provide care in the most convenient, accessible, and safe way for our members, and that's what Virtual Plus does."

6. Since March, the Oakland, Calif.-based health system has delivered most of its care virtually, with about 65 percent of Kaiser Permanente appointments now conducted virtually, compared to about 20 percent pre-pandemic. 

More articles on telehealth: 
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FCC nears launch of $100M connected care telehealth pilot program: 5 things to know 
7 things to know about telehealth, innovation efforts in HHS rural action plan

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