9 telemedicine services offering free health care during the coronavirus pandemic
Over the past month, a staggering 22 million Americans filed for unemployment as cities and states around the country continue to order Americans to shelter in place in an attempt to mitigate the public health effects of the coronavirus.
In the U.S., unemployment during a health crisis can be especially challenging since about 49% of Americans get health insurance through their employer. As many as 9.2 million workers are at risk of losing their employer-provided health insurance, according to the latest estimates from the Economic Policy Institute.
To help fill that gap, telemedicine companies are offering check-ups and other services for free or at discounted rates. Honeybee Health found several telehealth companies offering discounted services, ranging from $15 to $89.
CNBC Make It confirmed that nine telemedicine companies are offering completely free virtual doctor's visits for those affected by the coronavirus, although some restrictions do apply. We will continue to update if more providers offer free options.
- Availability: All states
CareClix is offering live, on‑demand video visits for anyone with Covid-19 symptoms. If you believe you've been exposed and you have symptoms such as a high fever, you can set up an appointment to speak with a doctor. These screenings (typically $65) are covered by insurance and/or the federal government, so there's no cost for patients, CareClix says.
While other conditions, such as allergies and colds, can be treated during a consult, standard charges will apply to all treatments except for Covid-19.
- Availability: All states
Callondoc is waiving its fee (usually $39.99) to provide free medical consultations to Americans stuck at home, even for medical needs unrelated to the coronavirus. Through the service, you fill out an online medical questionnaire about your symptoms or health needs and within two hours Callondoc's medical team reviews your submission and can send prescriptions to the pharmacy for you. The service may be especially helpful for those who need to refill a prescription while stay-at-home orders are in effect and don't have a regular doctor.
Use discount code GERMFREE at checkout to get your fee waived.
- Availability: California, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Washington and Medicaid patients in Massachusetts
Galileo Health is waiving its fees (typically $9 per month or $99 a year) for consumers seeking medical advice or consultations in regions that have been highly impacted by Covid-19. Through the Galileo app, consumers can get digital access to a team of experts who can answer questions and help with prescription renewals.
Check out Galileo's Covid-19 support site to sign up.
- Availability: 44 states, not including Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Vermont
HealthTap is currently connecting patients with U.S.-based, board-certified doctors for a free virtual appointment (typically $49 each) for any reason. HealthTap's app (available for iOS and Android) uses a matching technology, akin to Uber or Lyft, to connect patients to doctors.
HeyDoctor by GoodRx
- Availability: Alaska, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, Wyoming
HeyDoctor by GoodRx created a free assessment you can take if you think you have been exposed to the coronavirus. Using the app (available for iOS and Android), you can fill out a patient intake form and HeyDoctor's team of board-certified doctors and nurses can provide medical advice, including whether you should stay home or seek out medical attention.
- Availability: 47 states across the U.S.
Through the K Health app (available for download on the App Store and Google Play), those with Covid-19 symptoms can chat virtually with a doctor who can answer coronavirus-related questions and help diagnose symptoms.
Use discount code COVID19 at checkout to waive the consultation fee (individual consultations are typically $19; annual memberships are $39).
- Availability: San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, San Diego, Seattle, Portland, Phoenix, Chicago, Boston, New York, Washington D.C.
One Medical is providing free virtual screenings for Covid-19 through a free 30-day trial period for its membership (typically $199 a year). Consumers can video chat with a doctor on the One Medical app (available for iOS and Android) about their symptoms and get an expert opinion. If the doctor deems it necessary for you to get a test and you're uninsured or your insurance doesn't cover testing, you will receive a bill from the lab that processes the results. These costs vary, but lab tests for Covid-19 among patients without insurance typically runs about $50, One Medical says.
To start a free trial membership, use promo code GETCARE30 on One Medical's website. One Medical will not auto-enroll or bill a membership fee at the end of the 30-day period.
Availability: All 50 states and Washington, D.C.
Ro is offering free telehealth assessments for those who think they may have Covid-19 symptoms. If you do, you can go to Ro's website and complete an online assessment. If your answers indicate that you're symptomatic or have other risk factors, Ro will connect you with a health care provider who will follow up via secure messaging, phone, or video consultation.
During the free consultation, the provider may collect additional information about the patient's symptoms and concerns and recommend the proper course of action. Ro's affiliated doctors do not diagnose or test for Covid-19.
- Availability: All states
SteadyMD is offering free membership (typically $99 per month) for up to three months to Covid-19 first responders. The service partners consumers with a doctor who they can text, phone and video chat with at any time. To get the service free, first responders such as nurses, doctors and medical professionals, will need to submit a photo of their professional ID.
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