Bijan Farhangui, Founder & CEO, SAMI-Aid
Access to quality and affordable healthcare is arguably one of the more imperative aspects of everyday life, and insurance providers are supposed to act as the bridge to help all people access it. However, insurance providers’ position as healthcare brokers means that most people in the U.S. have little to no control over their healthcare. For the most part, insurers determine a patient’s access to diagnoses, treatments, and type of care. This is ironic and counter-intuitive, as the average U.S family spends nearly $15,375 in medical insurance premiums each year with the expectation of improving their peace of mind.
Unfortunately, when crisis strikes, people rarely find solace in their insurance providers who may try to shrug off their true medical needs, often denying claims when a patient needs preventative or urgent medical care. Costs can also range widely; for example, a 2012 federal investigation found the median ambulance cost per ride was between $224 and $2,204. With price ranges like these, it is no surprise that patients try and save their insurance “golden tickets” for a rainy day, in many cases ignoring possibly serious health issues. This neglect can lead to an exacerbation of health conditions or, in some cases, death.
The United States is the only developed nation without universal health care, with nearly 28 million non-elderly Americans uninsured in 2018 according to the most recent Census Bureau data. And so, between the fear of illness and the steep prices of hospital admission, the question then becomes, “if you’re sick, can you afford to go to the hospital?”
Bijan Farhangui, founder and CEO of SAMI-Aid, has more than 25 years of experience in the healthcare industry and has launched several successful medical diagnostic products and services. He started his company to democratize healthcare for all. Farhangui wanted to ensure that everybody in the country could have on-demand access to speak with a doctor at an affordable cost, no matter their background, location, or income, so that they can make the most of their insurance policies or get a diagnosis even if they are uninsured.
Today, his company offers telehealth services that help patients connect to nearly 2,500 doctors and 500 nurses on-call worldwide. Thus, the company’s telemedicine platform enables patients to speak to medical professionals virtually, any time and from practically anywhere, for a low flat fee. In the words of Farhangui, “We give you the power to find an affordable telehealth solution that fits your schedule.”
As an innovative healthcare concierge company, SAMI-Aid also dynamically creates medical strategies for each of its customers. Based on a patient’s health profile, SAMI-Aid combines a digital and one-on-one counseling approach to assess options for optimizing outcomes through their telemedicine services. Patients will self-evaluate and verify if they are feeling sick and need to consult a medical professional. They can then connect with SAMI-Aid via the phone or the internet and schedule an appointment.
We give you the power to find an affordable telehealth solution that fits your schedule
Alternatively, a patient can check SAMI-Aid’s physician database to pick a doctor and schedule an appointment for the most convenient time. Once the payment is made and the health history is assessed, a doctor will typically connect with the patient via phone or video conference within 15 minutes. Upon request, the doctor can send a report documenting the appointment, after which the patient will be prescribed a medication that they can fill at a local pharmacy if needed.
SAMI-Aid helps connect patients with doctors to triage any medical issues before they need to go into a clinic or hospital where they will have to encase their insurance policy. SAMI-Aid’s website or phone number will allow the patient to speak to a doctor or set up an appointment to see a doctor through audio/video call at any time that they want. Alternatively, if a patient wants to schedule an in-person appointment with a physician, they can reach out to SAMI-Aid and find a local doctor. Patients can view the price of a visit with that doctor, and SAMI-Aid will make the connection. The company offers a patient the ability to connect to a doctor without having to go through an insurance company or being limited by what an insurance company will allow. SAMI-Aid is trying to make access to quality healthcare better, by removing the insurance provider from the equation and ensuring that they are only called in instances of critical or chronic conditions.
SAMI-Aid has also been working with companies that employ 1099 and other self-employed workers/ independent contractors/part-time workers. Many of those workers don’t typically have insurance provided through their employer. SAMI-Aid works with those employers to provide supplemental health care services, via their telemedicine platform. This gives such organizations the ability to provide a good quality healthcare service for part-time and 1099 workers, without having to invest on a fully-backed insurance program. “We want to work with them on an ongoing basis to help provide care for those members of their workforce that would normally be left out,” adds Farhangui. In essence, SAMI-Aid would partner with a company and would charge them a per employee per month rate. Each employee signed up to the program receives unlimited access to SAMI-Aid’s telemedicine platform. They can then choose to speak to a primary care physician, a pediatrician, psychiatrist, therapist, or even a dermatologist.
SAMI-Aid’s model is also a boon for businesses and universities because of the flexibility that it affords both employees and students. SAMI-Aid wants to give students a healthcare solution that they can rely on at any time, even during school holidays, when students are off-campus. At a small fee, students will be able to use SAMI-Aid outside their campus and during their breaks, at times when they can’t use their resources on campus. Students can speak to a doctor, nurse, or mental health care professional anytime that they want. SAMI-Aid also offers programs to treat, track, and trace the coronavirus to limit virus exposure at campuses and businesses.
SAMI-Aid is potentially the future of contemporary healthcare, where the whole system works as a sort of physician cooperative. Here, doctors can add value to their practice by offering their services on the SAMI-Aid platform. This is beneficial to both the patients (who need access to quality healthcare) and the physicians (who can make the most of their time and abilities and be remunerated for the same). And with SAMI-Aid, there are no overhead costs or billing issues, and they don’t have to deal with any insurance. The process is very straightforward, and it is here now. Healthcare can truly be democratized, regardless of who you are. Finally, you can care for your own health, on your own terms.