What is virtuwell?
virtuwell is a service that provides our members 24/7/365 online access to board certified nurse practitioners. Think of it as an online clinic. You visit www.virtuwell.com and click the button that says “Get Started.” Then you will go through an online medical interview much like you would in a doctor’s office. Once you complete the interview, virtuwell nurse practitioners can diagnose, recommend treatment and prescribe medication when appropriate for many common medical issues based on the answers to the questions. You will receive a treatment plan and any prescriptions within 30 minutes of hitting the submit button. If the nurse practitioners need more information, they will reach out to you, and you can also request a follow-up with the nurse practitioner.
How does virtuwell work?
All you need is internet access to use virtuwell. There are no apps to download and no appointment needed. You start by visiting virtuwell.com and clicking the “Get Started” button. You are then asked to select a category for your health concern (ie. “allergies”) from a pre-determined list. The website gives you the option to start an interview process about your medical concerns or to first create or login into an account. You can proceed with the medical interview and then enter your email and password at the end of the process (ie. creating an account) before submitting your information. Near the end of the interview, you will also be asked about medical history, medication allergies and insurance information.
Once you hit the submit on the interview process, you will receive a written treatment plan and any medications that are prescribed within about 30 minutes. Prescriptions will be sent to your pharmacy of choice. You can even get a text notification when your treatment plan is ready. virtuwell will bill CGHC directly for members that select Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative as their insurance provider and then enter the correct 13-digit member ID number when going through the process.
Are online clinic visits covered by CGHC?
All CGHC plans will now cover 10 e-visits per enrollee, including virtuwell visits. The first 10 visits will be provided at no cost to the member in most plans, with the exception of HSA plans (see “What does it cost?” for more information). Certain other CGHC provider network partners may also offer e-visits which may also be billed to CGHC and count toward your ten visit limit.
Do virtuwell nurse practitioners consult with doctors? Where are they located?
virtuwell is a company located in Minnesota and is a subsidiary of HealthPartners health plan. The nurse practitioners they hire are board certified, licensed in Wisconsin and have both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing. They collaborate with physicians, specialists, pharmacists, lab experts and even data scientists when providing virtuwell online clinic services. The virtuwell team has expertise in general practice, family medicine, dermatology, women’s health, geriatrics and pediatrics.
Is my health information secure?
virtuwell is offered through an NCQA accredited health plan that is subject to the same stringent privacy requirements that Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative is. virtuwell maintains a variety of physical, electronic and procedure safeguards designed to protect your personal information and prevent unauthorized access. The moment you log on to the virtuwell web site, they encrypt your user name and password using the highest level of security, industry standard SSL (Secure Socket Layer) technology.
The virtuwell website is asking for my group number. I don’t have one on my ID card.
You can just enter 12345 for the group number. These instructions are shown when a member clicks the “?” next to the group number box.
What if I forgot my virtuwell password?
There is a self-help feature on the virtuwell website.
What can virtuwell treat?
Some examples include sinus problems, bronchitis, allergies, cold and flu, respiratory infections, women’s health issues, rashes, ear infections, pink eye, poison ivy, urinary tract infections, kids’ health issues and more. Telemedicine is appropriate for many common, uncomplicated medical issues that don’t require a specialist or long-term treatment.
Can I get a prescription through virtuwell?
Yes, they can prescribe most medications when appropriate, with the exception of controlled substances. virtuwell will generally prescribe short term common prescriptions, such as antibiotics to treat infections, antihistamines or short‐term prescriptions for maintenance medications. virtuwell is not meant to replace your primary care provider for longer term prescriptions.
Can I use virtuwell for my family?
CGHC covered visits are only available to anyone covered by a CGHC policy. Anyone without a CGHC policy can also use the service – they just need to pay virtuwell directly ($49).
Is virtuwell also available to small groups?
Yes, any CGHC member.
Can I use virtuwell when I’m traveling?
Wisconsin residents are encouraged to use virtuwell while traveling. They can use the service from anywhere as long as their primary residence is in Wisconsin. To use virtuwell you must live in one of the states in which they operate (Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Virginia and Wisconsin). If you are traveling to another state, it is still ok to use virtuwell because you live in Wisconsin.
What if virtuwell prescribes a drug that isn't covered by CGHC?
You will need to request a free follow-up visit with the nurse practitioner or contact virtuwell’s customer service at 877.440.1001. The nurse practitioner will work with you to get an alternative medication prescribed and will send a new prescription to the pharmacy. Follow up visits are free.
What does virtuwell cost?
The first ten visits are covered 100% by CGHC unless you are on an HSA plan, and that’s only because HSA rules do not allow any services to be covered before the deductible is met other than preventive care. Once a member exhausts the free visits or if they are on an HSA plan, they will pay $49 per visit to use the service (or episode, since follow ups if needed are free). HSA plan members will receive free visits if they meet their out of pocket. HSA members should request a receipt from virtuwell to submit for reimbursement under their health savings account.
What if I try it and virtuwell can’t help me?
If virtuwell cannot help a you, neither you nor CGHC will be billed for the visit. virtuwell’s system will advise you to seek care from an in-network doctor and will provide a link to our provider network search page. If virtuwell has offered a member a treatment plan (ie., they prescribe a medicine) but the member is unsatisfied with their treatment or it doesn’t work, virtuwell offers a money-back guarantee. We encourage members that are not satisfied with their care to let us know at email@example.com.
Who do I pay? Why am I being asked to enter payment information?
CGHC will be billed directly by virtuwell for the visit, but they will ask for payment information in case the visit is not covered by us for any reason. The member will not be billed until the consult is complete and they determine that the member can be helped by the service, then provide us with 30 days to pay. Follow-up visits are free. The most a member will ever pay is $49, but again, visits will be free for most CGHC members.
What if I don’t have a credit card?
If you don’t have a credit card you may obtain a pre-paid credit card and enter that number. You can often get these at a convenience store, credit union or bank. Credit card information must be entered and valid before services can be obtained.
If I'm in an HSA, does it apply to my out‐of‐pocket? Will I get an EOB?
Yes, you will receive an EOB. In HSA plans, the first ten visits will apply to deductible and MOOP but after 10, the service is no longer covered by CGHC. The member can still use the service however.
Are there any limits to the service?
Members are limited to 10 covered visits per year per enrollee, but they are free to use virtuwell more often for $49 per visit/episode.
How do I get a hold of virtuwell for billing or other questions?
While the online clinic must be used online, virtuwell does have a customer service number for technical or billing questions. It is 877.440.1001 or you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, virtuwell’s nurse practitioners are available for a phone call any time to discuss your treatment plan. Just find the link to Request a Callback, and a practitioner will call you within an hour.
What if I have a question that wasn't answered here?
virtuwell includes additional FAQs on their website at virtuwell.com/help. Scroll past the contact section to see additional FAQs.