Patients can check symptoms for free and then pay per session or subscription to speak to a doctor

The way we pay for our health care has not changed much for a long time: When our doctor’s appointment is over, we give our insurance card at reception and then wait for weeks for the bill. There is still a lack of transparency so that we do not know what we will pay for the services provided; tt is a terribly inefficient system, and one that makes care unaffordable, especially for people who are uninsured.

Fortunately, a new health model has emerged that is insurance-excluded and allows patients to pay for their costs out of pocket, often with a flat monthly fee for access to care. This is the model that is now being offered by companies like Hims & Hers and Ro.

(On July 14th, Vator is hosting an event on this topic, specifically related to mental health, with Bind, BetterHelp, and JustAnswer. Register and get tickets here.)

One of the largest startups in the healthcare system to use a patient-centric model is K Health: The company uses AI and machine learning to help users look up their symptoms and then see how doctors diagnose and treat similar people with similar symptoms. for free in his app.

Here’s how it works: Users first chat with an AI trained on a dataset of billions of anonymized clinical data points, taking into account a user’s gender, age, acute symptoms, and other biomarkers to show users exactly how others do People like they dealt with symptoms and conditions. This can include anything from mental health to back pain, headaches, abdominal pain, chest pain, rashes, fatigue, sexually transmitted diseases, and bladder infections, among others.

If it is determined that the patient needs to speak to a doctor, they will pay for that appointment in one of two ways: either per session, which costs $ 19, or they can pay a subscription fee of $ 27, which lasts three months and also includes unlimited follow-up and remote visits.

The subscription also includes unlimited visits for children over 3 years old; In January of this year, K Health launched its K for Parents pediatric solution, which includes a free symptom checker and the ability for families to see how doctors have treated children with similar conditions, as well as access to pediatric care through a K Health -Membership.

In addition, the company also offers mental health services separate from its membership in primary care; Patients pay $ 19 a month to have this treatment.

K Health now has over 4 million users and has made more than 7.3 million health dialogues possible on the platform.

By not having insurance, it can keep its rates low because patients “can avoid the costs that most insurance plans charge for primary care visits, such as co-payments, hidden fees, and high deductibles,” the company wrote in a blog post .

“We have created efficient ways to reduce healthcare costs and make quality care available to everyone. This includes standardizing prices so you don’t have to worry about unknown insurance costs, and using technology and AI to accelerate and optimize. the process of seeing the doctor, “said K Health.

“Our prices are lower than other telemedicine and presence providers. That’s because we have straightforward fees regardless of your condition, treatment, or whether or not you have insurance. This reduces the number of people involved and thus lowers the associated costs. in billing, calculation and price negotiation. “

Since its inception in 2016, New York-based K Health has raised $ 273.3 million in venture capital.

Most recently, a $ 132 million Series E financing round was initiated, led by GGV Capital and Valor Equity Partners. Other investors are Kaiser Permanente Pensionsfonds, LTS Investments, 14W, Max Ventures, Pico Partners, Marcy Venture Partners, Primary Venture Partners and BoxGroup. The round valued the company at $ 1.4 billion.

(Image source: khealth.com)

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