DISH's Boost Mobile brand issued a press release today announcing the upcoming availability of free health care services. The company claims to be the first wireless provider to offer free health care services to its subscribers and their families. Telemedicine will be provided through a partnership with K Health.
Telehealth Will Only Come Bundled With Boost's Most Expensive Wireless Plan
The K Health telemedicine service will be available for free to new Boost Mobile Unlimited Plus plan subscribers early in the summer of 2021. Boost's Unlimited Plus plan costs $60/month and includes unlimited talk, text, and data with the first 35GB of data available each month at high-speeds before throttling to 2G data speeds. The plan also allows 30GB of data to be used for mobile hotspot. Hotspot data is drawn from the plans 35GB total data allotment and is not a separate entity. Additional lines are priced at $40/month. Subscribers on other Boost Mobile plans will be able to add K Health to their plans for an additional $7.99/month. As a stand-alone product, K Health cost $9/month or $19 for one-time use.
K Health allows it subscribers to have unlimited access to real board-certified physicians. Subscribers can chat and text with doctors that can prescribe care and prescriptions to treat medical issues. On-demand pediatric care is also available for ages 3 and up with doctors available in the following states CA, CO, FL, GA, MN, MO, NC, NJ, NY, OH, PA, SD, TN, TX, and VT.
K Health also uses an artificial intelligence component to help its users better understand their symptoms and how doctors may elect to treat them.
Other Providers Have Also Previously Offered Telehealth Services
Boost Mobile is not actually the first wireless provider to bundle telemedicine services with their wireless plans. As covered by BestMVNO, ROK Mobile actually offered telemedicine services with their plans all the way back in May of 2016. Services were provided by MeMD. ROK's plan went a step further and also included a $100,000 accidental death insurance policy with $20,000 to cover burial costs. ROK Mobile stopped providing wireless service a few years ago. The company's founders opted to move on to create the ROKiT brand. ROKiT sells phones that come with free international WiFi calling as well as other "ROKiT Benefits" such as access to telemedicine, pharmacy savings and roadside assistance. The ROKiT brand offers its own subscription telemedicine service at a cost of $6.99/month and $38/session. Interestingly, at one point, Boost Mobile was offering up to 3-months of ROKiT benefits free to its customers. In September of 2020, a promotion ran offering 2-months of ROKiT Telemedicine to Boost Subscribers.
Simple Mobile And Total Wireless Partnered With Doc.Com
Last year, Tracfone brands Simple Mobile and Total Wireless partnered with doc.com to offer telehealth services in select states. Subscribers could add the service to their plans for $5.99/month instead of its stand-alone price of $9.99/month. A statement on the the platform's website reads "doc.com utilizes Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence technology to provide best-in-class service for our patients. We are aggregating targeted epidemiological data to enable patient-first healthcare solutions like never before." It uses US certified doctors that are staffed in-house 24-hours a day. Users of the platform can also video chat with their doctors.
Early last year when the pandemic first hit Telemedicine expanded rapidly and according to at least some data it may continue to be the case moving forward. A survey in early 2021 from ValuePenguin found nearly 3 in 10 Americans lost their health insurance coverage in 2020 and more than half remained uninsured to start 2021. According to AccessOne, two-thirds of consumers are concerned with their ability to pay for medical expenses in 2021 given the financial stresses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Telehealth services can provide a cheaper solution for some types of medical care than traditional insurance. Boost Mobile states that it serves millions of underinsured and uninsured customers and has partnered with K Health to help take care of its customers medical needs. Those interested in signing up for K Health through Boost Mobile can visit this page on Boost's website for more information.
Using data obtained from the Google Play Store, the telehealth platforms discussed in this article seem to have had mixed success, at least according to their app download numbers. Here are the app download counts for each app described in the article.
- MeMD - 10,000+ downloads
- K Health - 1,000,000+ downloads, company claims used by over 4-million people
- Doc.com - 100,000+ downloads
- ROKiT Benefits - 1,000+ installs
By those numbers, Boost Mobile appears to have partnered with the most established and successful of the telehealth brands thus far.