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SteadyMD Reviews: Is SteadyMD membership right for you?

SteadyMD offers a membership telemedicine service that delivers uniquely attentive care

Last Updated: May 11, 2020

SteadyMD Review

These days, getting your family doctor to do a “house call” is almost unheard of, and a visit with a general practitioner usually involves crowded waiting rooms and very short visits.

SteadyMD is a membership-based service that has merged telemedicine with the benefits of an expensive concierge medical practice. Through video calls and instant messages, they seek to provide remote, yet close-knit relationships between patients and family doctors.

Each SteadyMD member is assigned to a compatible doctor who will handle their care directly, and who has the time and resources to build a close rapport with each patient. Their virtual platform may not allow literal hand-holding, but it does lower the cost of what would otherwise be a luxury service.

Review Summary

Pros

  • Members are paired with one primary care physician, who remains the same for all visits.
  • Membership model offers unlimited consultations and questions for a flat fee.
  • Short waiting times: less than three days for the first appointment, and on-demand follow-ups in less than 24 hours.
  • Diverse team of doctors specializing in certain lifestyles, diets, or conditions.
  • Dedicated app that promotes a casual tone and open communication between patient and doctor.
  • SteadyMD can forward prescriptions and lab requests immediately to a local facility, and will consider the patient’s existing insurance network.
  • Strong emphasis on preventative care.
  • Services are available across the U.S.

Cons

  • Doesn’t cover costs of medication, tests, or specialist care – it’s more of a complement to your existing insurance.
  • Expensive – though cheaper than traditional concierge doctor retainer fees, SteadyMD is still more expensive than on-demand telemedicine providers.
  • After the first month, memberships are tied to one-year contracts.

Bottom line

SteadyMD will be a great service for the group of people who can afford the membership plans on top of existing insurance costs. The best way to describe SteadyMD is as a remote alternative to concierge medicine. The patients who will be able to make the most of their membership are those who want or require more customized attention or are working towards a specific health goal and can afford the high price.

When smartly used, this robust doctor-patient relationship can definitely help you detect diseases more easily, and therefore prevent complications or unnecessary ER visits. Nevertheless, SteadyMD is far from a budget-friendly alternative to insurance, and it won’t meet all the requirements for Minimum Essential Coverage. Any referrals, medication, or accidents will have to be either self-paid or go through an additional insurance policy.

Why you should trust us

Innerbody Research recently celebrated its 20-year anniversary online. Over the past two decades, we have helped tens of millions of readers make more informed decisions involving staying healthy and living healthier lifestyles.

We extensively test each health service we review, including SteadyMD. We try our best to give you, our readers, an unbiased exploration of at-home health services, free of marketing jargon or gimmicks. We evaluate the service based on our adherence to quality, the latest medical evidence and health standards, and a simple question: would we buy the product or service ourselves if it weren’t part of our job, and would we recommend it to family and friends?

Additionally this review of SteadyMD, like all health-related content on this website, was thoroughly vetted by one or more members of our Medical Review Board for accuracy.

How SteadyMD Works

SteadyMD provides all of its services as a yearly membership. Each member is paired with a primary care physician, whom they can contact through their dedicated smartphone app.

What Types of Membership does SteadyMD offer?

  1. SteadyMD offers the following types of membership

  2. Standard Individual Plan

  3. Standard Family Plan

  4. Functional Medicine Plan

  5. SteadyMD Complete

The enrollment process is pretty similar to joining a new family practice, except that it is done completely online. These are the basic steps you will need to follow:

Step 1: Sign up

When patients first sign up for SteadyMD, they will need to provide their basic contact information. This will be followed by a short quiz meant to pair them up with the most compatible physician. The criteria used to matching doctors with patients include:

  • Special diets (such as Keto, Paleo, Plant-based, Whole30)
  • Health goals (weight loss, improved sleep, stress management, etc.)
  • Specific sports (running, CrossFit, trekking, weight lifting)
  • Lifestyle and personality (including moms, dads, LGBTQ patients, and pet lovers)

This quiz will be used to suggest up to 4 doctors who may be a “good match” for you. You will then be prompted to choose a doctor and a time slot for the initial appointment. Most of these will be within 48 hours.

You will also need to review and accept a rather lengthy “New Patient Agreement” which is meant to be valid for one year. Before the appointment is confirmed, you will need to provide them with your payment information. No charges will be made right away. After this point, you will have until 24 hours before the appointment to reschedule it or cancel it. Otherwise, you will be charged a $50 cancellation fee.

Step 2: Initial appointment

The initial appointment with your matched doctor is meant to last up to one hour. This will be done via a two-way video call through their web portal or their smartphone app. This appointment will be remarkably similar to a standard office visit with a new doctor. The SteadyMD doctor will review your full medical history, family history, and pre-existing conditions. He or she may also ask for recent lab reports or order new tests.

Step 3: Ongoing remote care

After the initial appointment, SteadyMD will confirm with you whether you are satisfied with the appointment. If you decide to cancel your membership within 30 days of the initial appointment, you will not be subject to any penalties and only the first month will be charged from your credit.

If you don’t, you will continue as a SteadyMD patient. From this point onwards, your interactions with your assigned doctor will depend on your needs and health conditions. Interactions can include:

  • Proactive check-ups (when the doctor contacts you to see if you are doing well).
  • Comments on your blood sugar levels, activity levels, and nutrition, if you gave them access to your smart devices or fitness trackers.
  • Same day video-call consultations for urgent, non-complicated care.
  • Prescriptions and lab requests sent to a nearby facility.
  • Discussion of lab results.
  • Instant messages for clarification, extra information, or quick questions. As long as you stick to the app (and don’t attempt any in-person contact), the number of interactions you can have with your doctor will be unlimited.

Standard Individual Plan – $99 a month

The Standard Individual plan will provide you with one SteadyMD account and will match you with one doctor. You will get an initial one-hour onboarding appointment and unlimited follow-ups or consultations after that.

If you ever need a referral for blood work, imaging, or specialist care, your SteadyMD doctor will send the required paperwork to the facility you choose. However, this facility or doctor will bill you separately, and you will be responsible for those charges. For some specialties, SteadyMD may arrange a telemedicine consultation using their own network of physicians, at a discounted price.

Standard Family Plan – Starting at $178 per month

The Standard family plan offers the same services as the individual plan, but for both you and your spouse or partner.

You can then add other adults to the plan if you wish, and each adult added to your plan will cost an additional $79 per month. They will get their SteadyMD account and will be matched with their own doctor.

You can also add children or other dependent minors to your plan:

  • Children between 14 and 17 will get their separate account and doctor. This costs an additional $69 per month. As a parent, you will get access to their front desk channel and will receive updates about their health. For the most part, they will be treated as adults and see their doctor on their own.
  • Children between 3 and 13 will be seen by your SteadyMD doctor under your account. This costs $49 per month. Despite the fact that the child is under your account, he or she will have a separate message thread, and the doctor will keep separate records. Your SteadyMD doctor will be able to access their vaccination records, prescribe medications, write referrals, and order tests for them. Regardless, your children should also have a local pediatrician.
  • Babies under 2 years old can be added to your SteadyMD account. Your doctor will provide you with counselling and advice regarding their care. However, they must have their own in-person pediatrician, who will be responsible for prescribing any medication and performing physical checkups. This costs $29 per month.

Functional Medicine Plan – $199 per month

Functional medicine is a relatively new approach to medicine that focuses on the way the different systems and body functions work together. Rather than seeing each illness as isolated, it focuses on managing it in the long term by identifying its root cause. Functional medicine also examines the way sleep, digestion, gut microbiome, stress, and mental health work together.

In many ways, the Functional Medicine Plan acts as a Premium version of its standard membership. Under this plan, you will get a longer initial appointment of 90 minutes instead of 60 minutes. During this consultation, the doctor and patient will also develop a plan or strategy to actively monitor the patient’s wellbeing.

This plan is best suited for competitive athletes who need to maximize their performance, or for those struggling with genetic or chronic illnesses.

SteadyMD Complete (starting at $198 per month)

Most of the plans that SteadyMD offers are designed to complement your existing healthcare coverage, not to replace it. They will not cover the cost of any medication, tests, or hospitalization expenses. Therefore, SteadyMD strongly recommends all members to have additional external coverage.

Patients who are interested in a “one-stop-shop” approach that meets all the requirements for mandatory coverage can opt-in for SteadyMD Complete. This option combines a standard membership package with coverage under a Medical Cost Sharing (MCS) plan run by Sedera. SteadyMD and Sedera are separate companies and subsequently each company has its own terms and conditions. Due to Sedera’s restrictions, this service is not available for residents of Alaska, Washington, New York, Illinois, and Vermont.

The plan included under a SteadyMD Complete membership can kick in for any expenses above a pre-set Initial Unshareable Amount, which ranges between $500 and $5000. Larger IUAs will carry lower monthly fees. However, these fees do not grow based on preexisting conditions or for using the plan.

What is a Medical Cost Sharing Plan?

A Medical Cost Sharing plan (or MCS) is not the same as traditional health insurance, but it can fill in the gaps for major medical expenses. In an MCS, members must make mandatory monthly contributions, which are then pooled together into a shared fund. If any member of the plan requires medical treatment and the costs go above a pre-set minimum (the IUA), they can ask their Medical Cost Sharing plan to cover the bill.

A Medical Cost Sharing plan doesn’t have its network of preferred providers, so each patient will appear as a “self-paying” patient for the provider. The monthly contributions will depend on the number of people covered and their chosen Initial Unshareable Amount. Any medical needs that cost less than this IUA will not be covered by the plan.

Privacy considerations

Privacy and security practices at SteadyMD have two major strengths: a robust app technology and a fully-licensed, HIPAA-compliant team.

The medical team at SteadyMD consists of 26 medical doctors and a psychologist. They are all board-certified in their states. This means they are also all subject to U.S. privacy standards, especially where protected medical information is involved.

On the technology side, the SteadyMD team has dedicated considerable work toward their app’s safety protocols to ensure they exceed HIPAA’s standards. All their patients’ medical records are kept on secure servers and are encrypted on both ends (the patient’s and the doctor’s) so each side can access them quickly without interference.

Patients who opt for the SteadyMD Complete program should also consider Sedera’s handling of their information. Sedera is not technically a health insurance provider, and some of the regulations that control insurance companies do not apply to them. Nevertheless, their Terms of Service clearly outline how they handle protected health information and the specific circumstances in which they would share it. These are largely limited to cases of abuse, violence, risks to public health, or court proceedings.

HSA, FSA and health insurance

A SteadyMD membership does not replace health insurance. However, a big part of their concierge services includes helping their patients handle insurance paperwork.

You won’t be able to pay SteadyMD’s main membership fee directly through your insurance. Further, their online payment system doesn’t accept payments with an HSA or FSA debit card. If your Health Savings Account allows it, you can claim these fees as a reimbursement.

As we have mentioned before, the membership won’t cover the cost of any tests or medication that your SteadyMD doctor prescribes. You will be ultimately responsible for these charges. However, your SteadyMD doctor can send these requests to any facility you choose. Their front office service can help you find one close to you that is either affordable or within your insurer’s coverage network, as well as help you navigate the claims process.

Patients enrolled with SteadyMD Complete can access the Medical Cost Sharing plan whenever they face a large medical bill with an external provider. This can include surgeries, tests, and ER visits where the total bill is larger than your chosen Initial Unshareable Amount. Members of this program will be able to contact Sedera directly from the SteadyMD app.

What criteria do we use to judge health service companies?

At Innerbody Research, we customize our evaluation criteria depending on the type and nature of the health-related service. For SteadyMD and other health services and products, we have five areas that we use for our evaluations, including:

Quality: How well does the company deliver its core service(s) to the customer? For testing services, does the company adhere to the latest and most advanced testing technologies and achieve a very high degree of accuracy? For non-testing telehealth services, is the quality of the service high enough that we would recommend it to loved ones without hesitation? If not, why not?

User-friendly: How intuitive and user-friendly is the service? Does the device/program/app/website achieve a good degree of user-friendliness for its customers?

Value: Are you getting your money’s worth? Are there any hidden costs or charges? Does the company offer discounts?

Privacy: If health data is stored, will your data be stored securely? Are payments secure?

Customer support: Particularly in situations where ‘one size fits all’ doesn’t make sense, how well does the company help to make the service ideal for you?