Virtuwell review May 2021

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This virtual clinic has an innovative model that cuts down your waiting time — but it’s not for everyone.

  • Explore this practice if you live in one of the 13 states it operates in.
  • Choose something else if you want to speak to a health professional via video or phone.

How does Virtuwell work?

Virtuwell is a 24/7 virtual clinic that provides diagnoses, treatment plans and prescriptions for common illnesses, injuries and skin conditions. It’s run by board-certified nurse practitioners, and most patients receive their recommended course of care within an hour.

An extension of HealthPartners, Virtuwell is unique for not offering phone or video consultations off the bat. Instead, you’ll fill out a detailed form with your symptoms, and a nurse practitioner will review your case. They’ll then create your treatment plan, call you for more information or ask you to see a doctor in person.

Do I need to make an appointment?

No. Once you fill out the form, your nurse practitioner will email or text you when your treatment plan is ready.

Can I choose my nurse practitioner?

No. Your form will be sent to the next available nurse practitioner for review.

What conditions can Virtuwell treat?

Virtuwell focuses on urgent care and infections, and its nurse practitioners can treat 60 conditions.

Type of conditionExamples
Urgent care
  • Bronchitis
  • Chickenpox
  • Common colds
  • Cuts and scrapes
  • Deer tick bites
  • First-degree burn
  • Flu
  • Pet allergies
  • Pink eye
  • Poison ivy
  • Poison oak
  • Ringworm
  • Scabies
  • Seasonal allergies
  • Second-degree burn
  • Shingles Sunburn
Ongoing conditions and infections
  • Asthma — including inhaler prescriptions and refills
  • Athlete’s foot
  • Ear infection — age 5 and older
  • Hand, foot and mouth disease
  • Impetigo
  • Ingrown nails
  • Laryngitis
  • Lice
  • Molluscum
  • Nail infections
  • Sinus infections
  • Styes
  • Swimmer’s ear — age 5 and older
Skin conditions
  • Acne — age 12 and older
  • Angular cheilitis
  • Bed bug reactions
  • Boils
  • Canker sores
  • Cellulitis
  • Cold sores
  • Common warts
  • Dermatitis
  • Diaper rash
  • Eczema
  • Fifth disease
  • Folliculitis
  • Hives
  • Jock itch
  • Keratosis pilaris
  • Perioral dermatitis
  • Pityriasis rosea
  • Plantar warts
  • Rashes
  • Rosacea
  • Seborrheic dermatitis
Sexual, women’s and men’s health
  • Bacterial vaginosis — age 26 and older
  • Birth control — ages 18 to 29
  • Bladder infections and UTIs
  • Breast infections — aka mastitis
  • Chlamydia
  • Clogged ducts
  • Emergency contraceptives — ages 18 and older
  • Erectile dysfunction — ages 40 to 64
  • Genital herpes
  • Gonorrhea
  • Trichomoniasis
  • Yeast infections

Can my nurse practitioner order a lab test?

No. If you need blood work, your nurse practitioner may refer you to a nearby clinic — and you won’t be charged for the visit.

Can my nurse practitioner prescribe medication?

Yes. Nurse practitioners can write prescriptions for common medications, such as antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals, birth control and emergency contraception. Your prescription will be sent to your selected pharmacy for pickup.

Virtuwell won’t prescribe controlled substances or medications for anxiety, depression, travel and smoking cessation.

What doesn’t Virtuwell treat?

Virtuwell isn’t equipped to treat any conditions that require a physical exam or lab test. It’s also not suitable for mental health issues or medical emergencies.

If you’re experiencing any of these illnesses or conditions, please see a doctor in person or go to the hospital:

  • Brain and spinal cord injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Chest pain
  • Lacerations (i.e. skin cuts and wounds)
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Severe burns
  • Vomiting and coughing blood

What’s changed during COVID-19?

Thanks to its partnerships, Virtuwell can refer patients to a HealthPartners or Park Nicollet clinic for a drive-up COVID-19 test. The service is open to Minnesota residents and is billed separately.

If you suspect you’ve been exposed to coronavirus, you’ll need to complete Virtuwell’s free COVID-19 assessment or book a visit. And if you meet the testing criteria, a nurse practitioner will direct you to your nearest testing facility.

Does health insurance cover the coronavirus?

How much does Virtuwell cost?

Virtuwell charges a flat fee of $54 per visit. This fee covers a diagnosis, treatment plan and prescription, if needed.

You’ll also have access to 24/7 phone support and free follow-up care for 30 to 60 days, depending on your condition.

If your nurse practitioner can’t diagnose or treat you online, there’s no charge.

Some employers offer Virtuwell as part of their healthcare benefits. To find out if your company participates, ask your HR or benefits team.

Can I use my FSA or HSA to pay for my Virtuwell visit?

Yes. You can pay for your visit with your Flexible Savings Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA).

The clinic also accepts all major credit and debit cards.

Does Virtuwell accept insurance?

Yes. Virtuwell works with many major insurance companies, including Aetna, Anthem, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, CIGNA, HealthPartners, Medica, Preferred One and United Healthcare.

The clinic collects your insurance during checkout and submits a claim on your behalf. If your insurance doesn’t cover the entire cost, it charges the remaining balance to your card.

To find out if your insurance applies, call the support team at 612-339-3663 or 800-0551-0859.

Where is Virtuwell available?

Virtuwell is available in 13 states across the US, with plans to expand:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Iowa
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Dakota
  • Virginia
  • Wisconsin

You can use Virtuwell while you’re traveling, as long as you live in one of the states Virtuwell operates in.

Pros and cons of Virtuwell

Pros

  • Low flat rate. At $54 a visit and less with insurance, Virtuwell’s fee is at the lower end of the spectrum.
  • Efficient process. Patients save an average of 2.5 hours with Virtuwell’s model compared to in-person visits, according to a Health Affairs study.
  • High patient satisfaction. Virtuwell reports 99% of patients say the platform is easy to use, and 98% of patients would recommend it to others.
  • Skilled nurse practitioners. All nurse practitioners are trained to diagnose and treat a set list of conditions, and hold a Masters of Science degree in nursing.

Cons

  • No virtual appointments. Unlike most telehealth clinics, Virtuwell doesn’t offer virtual consults — your nurse will only call you if they need to clarify details on your case.
  • Limited scope of services. The clinic sticks to treating simple conditions that don’t require a physical exam or lab test.
  • Not available nationwide. At the moment, Virtuwell only services 13 states.

Virtuwell reviews and complaints

Virtuwell doesn’t have a presence on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), but its parent company HealthPartners has an A+ rating for its customer interaction. It’s earned 1.5 out of 5 stars from customers, but a quick read of the reviews revealed none of them are about Virtuwell specifically.

It’s a similar story on Trustpilot. HealthPartners has 2.8 out of 5 stars based on a handful of reviews — but none related to Virtuwell.

Since its launch in 2010, Virtuwell has received positive press coverage for its unique model from The New York Times, USA Today and NBC, among others.

How to sign up for Virtuwell

To become a member, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the Virtuwell website and choose Get Started.
  2. Enter your personal and contact details, and answer a few questions about your health and medical history.
  3. Upload your insurance information.

What happens after I sign up?

Once you’ve signed up, you can start requesting treatment plans.

Go to the homepage and select Sign In. Then, fill out the form with your symptoms and set your preferred pharmacy. You can expect to hear back from a nurse practitioner in around an hour.

What should I do if I don’t feel better after my appointment?

You can request follow-up care at no charge for 30 days for most ailments or 60 days for skin conditions. Your nurse practitioner may adjust your treatment plan or change your course of care.

If you’re still not feeling better after that timeframe has passed, complete a new interview form and update your symptoms.

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Frequently asked questions about Virtuwell

How can I contact Virtuwell?

If you have a medical issue or question, sign in to your account and select Request a Call Back. The next available nurse practitioner will call you.

Otherwise, contact the customer support team by:

  • Phone. Call 877-440-1001.
  • Email. Send a message to experience@virtuwell.com.
  • Social. Contact the company via Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

How do I select my preferred pharmacy on Virtuwell?

When you request an appointment, a pharmacy locator will pop up. You can choose a pharmacy based on its opening hours and proximity to you, and if you need medication, your nurse practitioner will send your prescription there.

How do I refill a prescription?

If you don’t have any refills left at the pharmacy, you’ll need to complete a new interview form with your current symptoms.

How does Virtuwell protect my data?

The company encrypts your personal information and prevents unauthorized access with the help of Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology. It stores your credit card information on a separate and secure server, and won’t share your information with a third-party without your written consent.

Who are Virtuwell’s clinical partners?

Virtuwell collaborates with a few clinics to make healthcare more accessible and convenient for its patients. These include HealthPartners, Park Nicollet, Essentia Health and Group Health Cooperative.

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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

Run by nurse practitioners, Virtuwell offers diagnoses, treatment plans and prescriptions after patients fill out a form with their symptoms. It treats a set number of simple conditions, and it’s designed to relieve the pressure on physical clinics and make it easier for patients to access care for urgent issues, infections and sexual health.

While Virtuwell’s model is innovative, it has its limitations. Namely, nurse practitioners can’t order lab tests or diagnose conditions outside of the list.

If you have health insurance, you might pay less than $54 per visit. But if you’d prefer to speak to a health professional over the phone or video, compare membership medicine companies.

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