Virtual-first health plans, or plans that prioritize telehealth services for enrolled members, have continued to grow in popularity as payers look to improve care access and affordability.
Four recent virtual-first updates:
Anthem's affiliates in Georgia and California are rolling out virtual-first health plans to some members. Eligible commercial members will gain access to an AI-powered symptom checker, routine wellness care, chronic condition management and behavioral care. The virtual services will take place through Anthem's app, Sydney Health. The plans will first be available to eligible members enrolled in large group administrative plans and large group fully insured plans starting in July. The service will be available to national account ASO clients in 2024.
Blue Shield of California launched a virtual-first health plan in April through a partnership with care navigation platform, Accolade. The 'Virtual Blue" health benefits plan offers $0 out-of-pocket costs for virtual primary care, specialty care for 20 specialties, urgent care and mental care. Members will also be able to access Blue Shield's PPO network in California, along with national and international coverage options.
BCBS Massachusetts introduced a virtual primary care team feature in January for most commercial members through a partnership with Carbon Health and Firefly Health. Virtual visits are no cost for members who designate the virtual option as their primary care.
Priority Health launched the first virtual-first plan in Michigan for large employers in July 2022. The Virtual Care Partners plan includes tiered benefits that incentivize 24/7 virtual care at no cost through a team composed of a primary care physician, therapist, registered nurse and medical assistants.