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ChristianaCare enters the D2C subscription healthcare market

The news: Health system ChristianaCare launched a subscription-based virtual primary care service for consumers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New Jersey.

Here’s how ChristianaCare Virtual Primary Care works: Plans are available for people ages 5 and older, and patients can sign up for monthly, quarterly, or yearly subscriptions.

  • Subscriptions cover same-day telehealth appointments—with extended hours on nights and weekends—and text messaging with clinicians.
  • Plans start at $35/month for adults, and prices are tiered based on patient age. The cheapest plan for seniors is $65/month.
  • There’s no additional charge for copays, but costs for emergency room visits, labs, imaging, and specialist referrals are not included in the subscription price and depend on the patient’s insurance coverage.

Zooming out: Healthcare tech companies, retailers, and direct-to-consumer (D2C) telehealth players are making their presence felt in the virtual primary care market, promising convenient care and transparent pricing—often under a subscription model.

  • Amazon-owned One Medical charges members a $199/year fee, which covers texting with doctors and same-day appointment scheduling. Copays and additional services are not included.
  • GoodRx Gold memberships start at $9.99/month, with benefits including savings on telehealth visits and medications.

Retail health players like CVS don’t have subscription plans, but display upfront pricing for primary care services offered and usually have same-day or next-day appointment availability.

ChristianaCare’s potential advantage: Consumers who sign up for a D2C telehealth service often have to choose between getting an appointment with the next available provider or waiting for their preferred doctor.

But ChristianaCare intends to establish an ongoing relationship between a patient and their provider while a dedicated team sticks with consumers throughout their care journeys.

  • Members choose their care team when they sign up, which includes a primary care provider, nurse, and patient digital ambassador (PDA). The PDA helps patients set up telehealth visits and devices when needed.
  • Care teams develop personalized plans based on the patient’s health needs and goals.

Our take: Competition is heating up in the D2C telehealth market. This will eventually force incumbents to keep convenience, personalization, and price transparency top of mind as they deliver healthcare.

ChristianaCare getting into the D2C subscription healthcare space is a fascinating development and a clear sign that incumbent health systems are paying attention to new entrants’ consumer-friendly offerings such as same-day appointments and texting with doctors. Expect more established providers to follow suit as they look to ward off disruptors.

This article originally appeared in Insider Intelligence's Digital Health Briefing—a daily recap of top stories reshaping the healthcare industry. Subscribe to have more hard-hitting takeaways delivered to your inbox daily.