I’ve been very interested in GoForward. It’s presented like all the things you would want from health care in 2018. Known costs, preventive care, backed by technology to help people cut costs and make intelligent decisions. Membership fees so you can walk in whenever you need, doctors available and on-site, wellness monitoring for sleep, exervise, stress and high touch care with a 24/7 team. I mean, who doesn’t want that.
Then I read the terms and conditions (forgive me, I’m a lawyer and I read these things especially when someone new is coming to the market). So what does it say? Pretty much the exact opposite of what you expect. This is my favorite quote from the terms of service:
“GoForward acts solely as a technology platform…..”
That doesn’t really bring a lot of warm fuzzy’s to me. As a matter of fact, it sounds like I’m signing up for a SAAS platform. Doesn’t sound like there’s any doctors involved. As a matter of fact, it sounds like if there ever were doctors involved, you aren’t paying for that. They do say that they’ll connect you with a Medical Group or “Providers”, but then they say that those Providers can sell you stuff, sell you services and products, and no where does it say that their services are included in the membership fee.
This next bit is my favorite part:
So that is health care of the future? No doctor patient relationship, all of my information is for sale to the highest bidder, and guess what, the doctor for all I know is a lovely paid for marketing rep for who is just trying to push products on me. But I’m getting into the weeds right?…let’s talk about the basics. If I sign up, how much and for how long?
The marketing babble makes it look like it’s normally $199/month and right now in NY they are going for $99/month to increase membership. Seems pretty straight forward, I can risk $100 if it really is healthcare of the future. I’m in to giving that a try. However, I read the online terms, and there doesn’t seem to be a way for me to terminate/cancel do anything. I read their online terms and conditions located at https://goforward.com/terms. So, I decided to chat with their online support. Here’s what they said…
“Yes 6 month commitment, then afterwards you can cancel at any time.”
Wait a second, where does it say that? If I go through the payment information (meaning the screen I give the credit card, down in tiny text on the bottom it says (and no where before then):
6 month minimum commitment.
I guess that means that I’m in for at least $600? But where does it say how I end that commitment? And so far the only thing I’ve figured out is that I get to pay them $600 for a login to a platform and the opportunity for them to sell me stuff and refer me to specialists that aren’t included in the membership plan…I guess that’s a solid way forward? I think the most confusing part at this stage, and who knows, maybe when you sign up everything is much simpler, but the customer care/sales reps/online chat bots don’t differentiate between third parties and themselves. This is what they say when I said I have no idea what I’m signing up for and what I get….
“We use lots of technology with our members, to help expedite their care for services. As a member you’d be able to come in to see your doctor, chat in through our app any hour of the day or night, schedule phone call visits and more. The membership fee covers all the interactions you have with Forward — whether you’re chatting in on a weekend evening about a sore throat or you’re wanting to build a more proactive plan to monitor your risk of developing heritable cancers — your Forward doctor and care team are always there for you. We don’t bill anything through insurance, but rather the membership fee covers everything we can do in-house. That means blood testing to monitoring things like your heart health, kidney and liver function and so on are included, as are things like routine medications, all vaccines and even a take-home smart device to keep your doctor continuously plugged in to your health. The aim is to make it easy for you to access really high-quality care. Below is a link to the doctors that are currently with Forward, so that you can have more information. https://goforward.com/your-doctor“
Maybe I’m a little thick, but that sounds like the doctors are part of Forward. And I get that legally you have to separate things and abide by professional responsibilities, but then you would assume that their terms would reference terms for the ACTUAL DOCTORS! I mean, we all love a good SAAS product, but we’re not at the state where SAAS products replace doctors (and most likely never will), and if it’s telemedicine, great, just say that. After all there are a lot of telemedicine services out there, and shocker, their terms are pretty clear.
In the end, and after reading a whole bunch of Yelp reviews, it sounds like I’m sitting this one out til I know what I’m signing up for. At this stage, all I know is I get a username and a password. Google gives me that for free and they make the same amount of promises as Forward does.