House Calls Startup to Accept Medicare

TrueCare24, a startup offering house calls and telehealth services, now is accepting Medicare and has launched a subscription service.

“While other services have catered to demographics with disposable income, TrueCare24’s vision is to make care accessible and convenient care for all,” CEO Leonid Popov stated in a press release Tuesday.

As alluded to in the TrueCare24 announcement, the last year has seen a boom in home care startups aimed at the private duty market. Companies including Honor, HomeHero, Hometeam and CareLinx have brought in massive investment dollars, and are creating tech-enabled platforms for connecting caregivers and clients. But these services have not yet offered skilled nursing or other medical services.

TrueCare24, which launched in October, is designed to meet some of these medical needs through physician house calls and telehealth visits. So far, the startup has partnered with a company that makes nine clinicians available for house calls in the Bay Area, and it is looking to grow, Popov told Home Health Care News. It expects to add three additional locations in the next six months, and to expand outside of California.

Thus far, TrueCare24 has assisted clients in submitting private insurance claims as an out-of-network provider and has accepted health savings accounts, but now it will begin to “seamlessly” accept Medicare, the company stated. The client will be eligible for full Medicare coverage of house calls, with out-of-pocket costs being limited to copays.

In addition, for a $15 monthly subscription fee, anyone in a client household may call TrueCare24 physicians as many times as needed to have their questions answered, which is meant to empower prevention and early diagnosis. They also will get a reduced rate of $99 for a house call, which typically occurs within one hour of being requested for urgent care. Services are requested via the TrueCare24 application, available on Apple devices.

“We’ve seen the most value in households of older adults with chronic conditions,” Popov said. Considering that many of these seniors have both medical and non-medical support needs, TrueCare24 is open to partnering with some of the startups in the private duty space, he added.

“It makes sense because we can benefit from other, leverage each other’s services,” he said. “We’re pretty open to partnerships in this space.”

While the company is not disclosing the exact number of clients, its user base is growing 6% to 7% each week, according to Popov. Despite its rapid growth, the company has not secured outside investment dollars, although this could be in works.

There are various reasons why house calls have become rare, The Associated Press noted in an article last summer. For one, physicians can see more patients—and therefore receive more payments—in an office than by doing house calls. Yet the prevalence of house calls may be on the rise. This is in part because Medicare saves money if beneficiaries receive care at home rather than in a costlier hospital setting, so the government has created programs to incentivize more house calls.

Still, consumer education around house calls is needed, and is one of the key goals for TrueCare24 in the coming year.

“For 2016, the main goal is expansion, to get more providers on the platform and to offer the service to more customers,” Popov said. “Also, to spread the word and educate people about house calls.”

Written by Tim Mullaney