Costco, known for its bulk-buying opportunities and wide range of products, has extended its services beyond retail by offering health insurance options to its members. With the new Costco health insurance, the company has ventured into the complex realm of health care, providing a selection of healthcare services designed to cater to the diverse needs of its customer base.
Costco’s foray into health care is part of its commitment to offering value and service to its members. Using its purchasing power and partnership with Sesame Health, Costco is aiming to provide competitive healthcare options to its members.
In this post, we’re looking at the various aspects of Costco’s new health insurance offerings.
- 1) What Does Costco’s New Health Insurance Offer?
- 2) Is Costco Health Insurance Available Throughout the Country?
- 3) Does Costco Insurance Allow HSA and FSA Payments?
What Is Sesame Health?
- 4.1) Who Are the Costco/Sesame Physicians?
- 4.2) What Specialities Can Costco Health Insurance/Sesame Offer?
- 4.3) How Does a Telehealth Appointment Work With Costco Health Insurance?
- 4.4) What Is Included In a Regular Costo/Sesame Health Check-Up?
- 4.5) What Is Sesame Health’s Cancellation Policy?
- 4.6) Virtual Appointments Through Costco Health Insurance
- 4.7) In-Person Appointments
- 4.8) All Other Appointments
- 4.9) No Refunds
- 5) How Do I Sign Up for Costco Health Insurance?
- 6) Does Each Member of My Family Need Separate Sesame and Costco Accounts?
- 7) Is Costco Health Insurance a Good Idea for RVers?
- 8) Free RVing Tips, Tricks, Reviews & Giveaways
What Does Costco’s New Health Insurance Offer?
Costco is following a similar path to many other retailers like Walmart, Walgreens, and Amazon in partnering with health insurers to cut healthcare costs for its members. The goal of all of these retailers and insurers is to move to easy-access healthcare services with value-based payments, all with the aim of reducing the total cost of care.
Costco recently announced that it’s offering outpatient healthcare services to its members for as little as $29 through a new partnership with Sesame Health. Sesame is a healthcare marketplace that connects providers with consumers. They’re able to offer low prices for certain services because they don’t accept traditional health insurance.
With Costco’s new healthcare offering, members can take advantage of more reasonable costs for certain services such as:
- $29 for a virtual primary care visit
- $79 for a virtual therapy visit
- $72 for a health check-up (standard health panel & consult)
They also offer an additional 10% off specialty visits including in-person appointments through Sesame Health.
Is Costco Health Insurance Available Throughout the Country?
Costco members who take advantage of the healthcare program will have access to select options as noted above across all 50 states. They’ll also be able to get 10% off all other Sesame services, including in-person appointments.
This suggests that it may be a worthwhile consideration for RVers, particularly full-timers who may have difficulty finding other insurance plans that offer reasonable coverage for typical routine healthcare services.
Does Costco Insurance Allow HSA and FSA Payments?
What Is Sesame Health?
Sesame Heath is a marketplace that connects thousands of healthcare providers across the United States directly with consumers seeking convenient medical care at reasonable cash prices without long wait times, hidden fees, or the need for traditional (often expensive) health insurance.
Sesame offers consultation with doctors in more than 40 specialty areas who are in the vicinity of the patient. Sesame pays the physicians directly, allowing the consumer (patient) to save up to 60% on prescription refills, skin consults, imaging, dentistry, therapy, labs, and certain other healthcare services.
Let’s look at a few important questions about what Sesame Health provides under the Costco health insurance membership.
Who Are the Costco/Sesame Physicians?
All of the doctors, dentists, nurse practitioners, and other clinicians available to Costco members via Sesame are independent medical professionals.
What Specialities Can Costco Health Insurance/Sesame Offer?
Through its partnership with Costco, Sesame offers connections with healthcare professionals in more than 40 specialties for online appointments. In select areas, in-person visits are also available.
The specialty areas include primary care, radiology, mental health, dermatology, cardiology, endocrinology, dentistry, and many more.
How Does a Telehealth Appointment Work With Costco Health Insurance?
A telehealth appointment is an online or telephone consultation with a healthcare provider. This allows patients to access certain healthcare services from home or even on the road from their RV. These services usually come at a far more reasonable cost than an in-person consultation at an urgent care center or traditional doctor’s office.
Sesame physicians and medical professionals can provide healthcare assessments via video teleconference to diagnose certain issues just as they would if they were sitting in front of you in person. They can assist patients in figuring out treatment plans and can even prescribe medication if needed.
It’s important to note that a successful online video consultation requires a solid connection to Wi-Fi or cellular data. This can be challenging for an RVer in a remote area. Luckily, there are a number of ways to get a reliable internet connection from nearly anywhere. See our posts on RV internet options, our RV internet solutions, and Starlink RV internet for more.
What Is Included In a Regular Costo/Sesame Health Check-Up?
As of this writing, the following is provided in all states except New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island.
Through its partnership with Sesame Health, Costco’s health insurance plan provides a regular health check-up that includes an order for lab work plus the lab testing for a standard health panel (i.e. blood work).
The lab panel includes a CBC (complete blood count), CMP (comprehensive metabolic panel), lipid panel (cholesterol), and a urinalysis. A regular health check-up also provides a virtual follow-up appointment with a provider to discuss the lab results.
Prior to purchasing the check-up, patients choose the Quest or Labcorp location nearest to them, along with a follow-up consultation with the provider of their choice.
In New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island, there are legal restrictions that require patients to pay for lab tests at the lab facility. The health check-up can be ordered through Sesame Health, but the bundle will only include the lab order and a follow-up visit. The lab testing fees are not included and will need to be paid separately at the testing facility.
What Is Sesame Health’s Cancellation Policy?
You can make, cancel, and reschedule appointments easily through Sesame Health and a full refund will be provided as long as cancellations are made according to the following timelines:
Virtual Appointments Through Costco Health Insurance
Virtual appointments may be canceled up to 3 hours before the scheduled appointment.
In-person appointments may be canceled up to 24 hours before the scheduled appointment.
All Other Appointments
All other appointments including labs, imaging, and appointments that don’t specify a day or time at the time of purchase may be canceled up to 10 days after the purchase date, once Sesame confirms with the provider that the appointment did not take place.
Sesame Health will not issue refunds for any of the following:
- Requests within 24 hours of your appointment time for in-person appointments.
- Requests within 3 hours of your appointment time for virtual appointments.
- Requests to prescribe a particular medication or complete particular paperwork that is not accepted.
- Surgical procedures with confirmed scheduling.
In addition, a lab appointment must be completed within 7 days of purchase. (Sesame won’t issue a refund after the 7-day window has passed.)
Also, any refund request that’s made more than 10 days after the scheduled visit will not be honored.
Note that if you were to make a same-day appointment by mistake and then need to cancel it, Sesame will refund your money as long as you request the cancellation within one hour of making the purchase.
How Do I Sign Up for Costco Health Insurance?
First, you need to be a Costco member to receive healthcare through its partnership with Sesame Health.
You’ll then need to create a Sesame account and verify your Costco membership through your Costco.com account. Once that’s done you’ll be able to access Costco member pricing on Sesame.
Does Each Member of My Family Need Separate Sesame and Costco Accounts?
No. Family members can all make appointments under a single Sesame account, just as your entire immediate family can go shopping together with one Costco membership.
Is Costco Health Insurance a Good Idea for RVers?
Getting healthcare on the road can be a challenge, especially if your existing health insurance plan only covers you in your home state. Full-time RVers often have difficulty finding plans that work nationwide. So this kind of telehealth-based option could be a great way to deal with not being “at home” when a medical situation arises.
Virtual (video and/or phone) appointments make this a viable option for RVers, particularly for routine care or acute issues that arise when you’re traveling. (Also see our post on medical evacuation insurance, which may be needed depending on your travel plans.)
Costco’s entry into the health insurance sector marks an interesting development that could continue to influence the industry’s evolution toward more consumer-friendly, cost-effective healthcare options. As it stands, Costco’s health insurance offerings present a promising avenue for members seeking certain types of coverage and potential cost savings.
However, while Costco’s partnership with Sesame may offer cost-effective coverage in many cases, it’s important to assess your specific healthcare needs and compare the Costco/Sesame offerings with other available plans to make an informed decision.
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