Health care’s quality has leapt so far, so quickly; advances in medical technology unthinkable only decades past have rendered the diagnosis and treatment of many illnesses an exercise in simplicity. It’s all the more disappointing, then, that in the age of accessibility, access to adequate health services can be difficult to obtain for those whose income is insufficient to cover costs.
According to research by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, around 28.5 million Americans were uninsured as of early 2016, and that figure consists mostly of low-income families with at least one working adult.
But just as technology has advanced formal medical practices, so too has it trickled into the digital marketplace, in the form of numerous wellness-based apps. Below you’ll find a few programs designed to provide services traditionally covered under health insurance, only at a much lower cost (or no cost at all).
- EMED Jamaica Life Line (free to download) – If you have a trip planned to Jamaica, go with peace of mind. EMED’s app will work to connect you with any air ambulance evacuation service. If anything were to happen to you or a loved one during your stay, EMED Jamaica Life Line links you to the nearest hospital, physicians, pharmacies, and any first aid information pertinent to you.
- Amwell (free to download) – Amwell connects users with health professionals through a video chat, during which doctors may be able to diagnose maladies or prescribe medication. At a cost of $49 or less per chat, an Amwell checkup is far more affordable than the average $160 which uninsured patients pay for a doctor’s’ visit.
- Doctor on Demand (free to download) – This app boasts a video chat-based function similar to Amwell, as well as a flat rate of $40 per physician meeting, or $50 for a chat with a mental health expert.
- My Medical (free) – Medical records can be a hassle to keep track of, particularly for low-income families who frequently switch providers. By enabling users to electronically store medical info in a family folder and including a “translate” function that automatically simplifies medical jargon, My Medical cures the headache of record keeping.
- iTriage (free) – Accurate self-assessment allows low-income individuals to best clarify whether the costs of a hospital trip are warranted. iTriage provides a comprehensive array of information on symptoms, diseases and treatments, and also displays the rates and wait times of local treatment centers.
- Optimism (free) – An answer to the astronomical costs of uninsured mental health treatment, Optimism offers users the ability to track their mindstate through a mood-mapping system that identifies mental patterns, warns users if their mental well being appears threatened, and provides guidance and coping skills.
- ScriptSave (free) – Scriptsave displays a comparative analysis of medication prices in a local area, putting users in touch with the best deals around.
While in-person care administered by a trained specialist is ideal (especially if serious treatment is required) healthcare apps can provide decent, inexpensive assistance in situations where the alternative is no treatment at all.