The news: New York-based digital health startup Sesame Care and digital pharmacy firm Truepill launched an online pharmacy, SesameRx, to make prescription medications more affordable and accessible, especially for those without insurance.
Sesame flips the (Rx) script on healthcare payments: The company operates a direct-to-consumer (D2C) model and cuts out middleman insurers from the healthcare payments experience for patients.
This differs from traditional healthcare payments where patients are often billed by insurers at the end of their healthcare visit or buying experience. Instead, Sesame asks patients to directly pay for visits and prescriptions beforehand to avoid any surprise charges—which has historically deterred patients from seeking care:
SesameRx also offers both telehealth and in-person visits for $25—and that includes services like therapy, dermatology visits, and imaging scans.
Market snapshot: While Sesame’s move to launch SesameRx with Truepill is timely (considering the growing D2C healthcare market), it isn’t revolutionary.
Walmart was the first to pioneer the way for cheap cash-pay payment options for medications when it launched its $4 prescription generics program way back in 2006.
And there are other D2C digital health startups doing the same thing:
Why it matters: Regardless of bubbling competition in the D2C healthcare services and payments space, transparent healthcare pricing is becoming even more relevant, especially considering the federal government is turning up the pressure for providers and insurance companies to heed new pricing transparency rules.