“All care. No nonsense.” This is the slogan for a new health care platform that has landed in Houston and provides direct connections between doctors and patients. Sesame is a direct-to-patient health care company and it could be a game-changer for Texans who have been without health insurance during the pandemic.
Sesame expanded to Houston a little over a week ago.
Unlike Obamacare (through which an insurance marketplace exists), Sesame isn’t an insurance plan. It simply provides access to care at cheaper rates. There is one clear price for every service or visit.
The self-pay model may be an appealing option for Texans who lost employer-provided health insurance when they lost their jobs as well as others who can’t afford traditional coverage.
“At a time when unemployment rates are skyrocketing due to COVID-19, people are losing their health insurance or struggling to pay their deductibles,“ said David Goldhill, co-founder and CEO of Sesame. “Sesame’s direct-to-patient platform allows clinicians of all specialties increased flexibility to help those in need.”
The platform offers 100 direct care providers in Houston so far, Goldhill confirmed in an email on Friday. Launching in Houston was always part of Sesame’s plan.
On the website, you will find general practice doctors offering in-person or virtual appointments for women’s health, men’s health and diabetes care, along with doctors who specialize in mental and behavioral health, dental care, skincare, wellness and prevention, imaging, chronic care, prescription refills and COVID-19. Pricing is displayed next to each doctor’s name.
Why Start in Houston?
One in five people living in greater Houston doesn’t have health insurance, and the numbers continue to rise with the surge in unemployment.
“Houston is known to have one of the best medical communities in the world, however it’s one of the most uninsured major metropolitan cities,” Goldhill said.
People who don’t live in Houston can still access the platform to connect with a doctor who is licensed to practice in Texas.
“The current health care system is broken. Americans should have access to affordable health care regardless of their insurance status,” Goldhill added.
Another Alternative to Traditional Coverage
Another cheaper alternative to traditional health insurance is Sidecar Health, which utilizes a “self-pay” to provider approach for those buying insurance on their own. The savings average 40 percent.
The company launched in Austin last year but is now available all across Texas.
Sidecar creator Patrick Quigley describes it as “a product that’s totally different.”
A Sidecar Health representative says their plan does provide emergency care.
Sesame will not work for emergency care.