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Forward review Oct 2020

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Get unlimited doctor’s visits and health monitoring as part of your membership — but the fee is steep.

  • Explore this practice if you can afford the $149 monthly fee.
  • Choose something else if you live outside of CA, NY or DC.

How does Forward work?

Forward is a membership-based medical practice with a physical and virtual presence. It focuses on preventative healthcare, and relies on technology and AI to consolidate your medical records and track your health.

As a patient, you pay a monthly fee for membership. In exchange, you get access to Forward’s full range of services, including unlimited doctors visits, vitals monitoring and mental health support.

Can I choose my primary care provider?

Yes. When you sign up for membership, you can select your Primary Care Provider (PCP) based on your location and the specialties and qualifications of the doctors who work there.

You can switch your PCP at any time, and request a second opinion from another Forward physician as needed.

What services are covered under my Forward membership?

These services are included in the membership fee:

  • Unlimited appointments with your doctor — both in-person and virtually
  • 24/7 access to your physician and care team via the app
  • Blood tests for cholesterol, heart health and kidney and liver function, among others
  • Biometrics monitoring to track your vitals — like your blood pressure, temperature and pulse
  • Genetic testing and counseling
  • Mental health services — including regular check-ins, consults and prescription guidance
  • Skin cancer screening and monitoring
  • Travel, seasonal and standard vaccines
  • Men’s health — including prostate screening and STI tests
  • Women’s health — including pap smears, pelvic exams, birth control counseling and STI tests
  • First-fill generic prescriptions
  • Prescription home delivery
  • COVID-19 diagnostic and antibody testing

What doesn’t membership cover?

These services are outside the scope of membership:

  • Imaging — including X-rays, CTs and MRIs
  • Urgent and emergent care, like hospitalizations
  • Specialist care
  • Ongoing treatment for severe mental health conditions — including depression and substance abuse
  • Recurring prescriptions
  • Brand-name prescriptions that aren’t available in-clinic
  • Lab tests beyond the common tests performed on-site
  • Elective or planned hospitalizations

If you need these services, your PCP will work with you to estimate and decrease out-of-pocket costs, where possible. Your PCP can also coordinate the logistics if you have to see a specialist or go to the hospital.

What’s changed during COVID-19?

Forward implemented a few changes in response to the pandemic. The app now has a self-assessment feature that allows members to determine their risk and symptoms.

The practice conducts diagnostic and antibody tests for COVID-19, which are limited to high-risk members — like seniors and the immunocompromised — as well as those who believe they’ve been exposed to the virus. You can schedule a test on the app.

If you contract the virus, Forward recommends using its telemedicine services rather than visiting a physical location — though that’s an option, too.

How much does Forward cost?

The membership fee is $149 a month. You’ll be charged for your first month upon sign-up, and then monthly thereafter.

The practice doesn’t have copays or coinsurance. If you need a treatment or procedure that’s not included in your membership, Forward will give you a referral — and that provider will likely bill your insurance.

Some employers offer Forward membership as part of their healthcare benefits. If your workplace participates, your employer will subsidize the $149/month fee.

Can I use my FSA or HSA to pay for membership?

Yes. You can enter your Flexible Savings Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA) card details during the signup process.

If you’d like to use your FSA or HSA to pay for a portion of the membership fee, skip the online application and contact the billing department on 833-334-6393.

Where is Forward available?

The practice has eight offices in six cities across the US:

  • Los Angeles — Century City and Glendale
  • New York City — Midtown and Nomad
  • Orange County
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco Bay Area
  • Washington, DC

As a member, you’ll have a “home” location — but you can visit any office if you’re traveling.

Pros and cons of Forward

Pros

  • Unlimited doctors visits. You can book as many appointments with your PCP as you like during your membership.
  • 24/7 access to the care team. Chat with healthcare professionals round-the-clock on the app.
  • Holistic approach to health. Forward offers mental health check-ins and has licensed physicians on staff.
  • Health and wellness monitoring. Every in-person visit includes biometric scans, and you can also send your PCP data from your fitness wearables.
  • Some labs, vaccinations and generic prescriptions included. Your fee covers common blood tests, vaccines and first-fill medications.

Cons

  • Limited locations. Forward only has eight offices in major cities across the US.
  • Expensive membership. At $149 a month, the fee is steeper than similar services.

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Forward reviews and complaints

Forward isn’t accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and it has a D- rating based on the short time it’s been in business and its failure to respond to one customer complaint. The company has received three complaints over the past three years, most of which centered on a lack of communication or slow responses from the care team.

On TrustPilot, the practice has 3 out of 5 stars based on over 100 reviews. Customers commented on how easy it is to book appointments and monitor your health data, but also mentioned issues with the app and having to wait for responses.

Based on these reviews, it seems patients get the best service during telemedicine visits and when they visit the practice in-person.

Since its launch in 2017, Forward has received positive press for its tech-enabled platform.

How to sign up for a Forward membership

To become a member, go to Forward’s site and complete the registration form. Enter your location and contact details, as well as basic information about your health.

Once your payment is processed, download the app to book your “baseline visit.” During this initial visit, you’ll meet your PCP, who will conduct a physical and review your biometrics, lab results and personal and family medical history. You’ll then speak about your health and wellness goals, and your PCP will create a care plan.

You can also choose to sync the Forward app to your wellness wearables and devices, like Apple Health, Motiv Ring and Omron Evolv.

Frequently asked questions about Forward

Expert review

Katia Iervasi

Review by


Katia Iervasi is a staff writer who hails from Australia and now calls New York home. Her writing and analysis has been featured on sites like Forbes, Best Company and Financial Advisor around the world. Armed with a BA in Communication and a journalistic eye for detail, she navigates insurance and finance topics for Finder, so you can splash your cash smartly (and be a pro when the subject pops up at dinner parties).

Expert review

Forward is designed to replace your primary care doctor and coordinate your preventative care. It’s unique in that it offers biometric monitoring and some lab tests and vaccines as part of its membership, along with unlimited in-person and virtual visits. But the fee is expensive, and Forward only has a presence in six cities across the US.

While membership pays for many basic services, it doesn’t cover catastrophic or specialist care. For that reason, it’s a good idea to pair your membership with a low-premium, high-deductible health plan. That way, if you experience an emergency or need ongoing treatment or medication, your health insurance policy can step in to cover some of those costs.

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