Why telehealth companies are betting on subscription services 

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Telemedicine companies are pushing subscriptions as a main driver to build on the growth they have maintained among consumers due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a June 15 Guardian report. 

While the COVID-19 virus surged from February to April in 2020, insurance claims for telehealth visits ballooned to more than 12 million a month, according to the report. While the demand for telehealth has since dipped to 8.8 million claims a month, it is still well ahead of where it was in 2019. 

Virtual care companies such as Alpha Medical, a Silicon Valley-based startup, are looking to meet these new demands with subscription services. An Alpha Medical subscription costs about $120 a year and offers unlimited messaging with a provider for health conditions ranging from therapy to birth control. 

Alpha's main demographic is "gig and part-time workers," freelancers and the uninsured, or the people that David Blumenthal, MD, president of the CommonWealth Fund, calls the "disenfranchised" from the U.S. healthcare system, according to the report. 

Alpha's target demographic is "symptomatic, to use medical terminology, of a deeper disease," Dr. Blumenthal told the Guardian. "And that disease is a systematic lack of insurance for about 30 million Americans." 

By targeting mid- to low-income patients, who have high-deductible insurance plans that require spending thousands of dollars up front before insurance kicks in, Alpha's subscriptions come off as less expensive than traditional insurance, according to the report. 

Click here to view the full report. 

 

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