Anthem partners with Samsung, American Well on telehealth offering

Anthem's partnership with American Well and Samsung aims to give members easier access to telehealth. (Anthem)

Anthem members will be able to access medical advice through a mobile telehealth app on their Samsung phone thanks to a new three-way partnership with the technology giant and American Well.

The collaboration will provide access to American Well physicians through an updated Samsung Health app that now offers access to LiveHealth Online, according to Monday’s announcement.

The new partnership streamlines several existing contracts between the three companies. Samsung launched its Health Experts service last year, embedding American Well’s platform into its Samsung Health application. The addition of Anthem, which operates Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in 14 states, opens the service up to 74 million members.

Anthem and American Well have partnered on telehealth since 2013 when the insurer launched LiveHealth Online. The addition of Samsung allows members with Galaxy phones to access virtual services through the health app without downloading a separate LiveHealth Online app.

Peter Haytaian, Anthem’s executive vice president and the president of the commercial and specialty business division, said in a statement that the new partnership is part of ongoing efforts to partner with industry leaders to improve access and affordability.

“The healthcare needs of consumers are incredibly dynamic, and technology will continue to be the gateway to enable consumers broader choice of care to improve their health and wellbeing,” he said.

RELATED: CMS physician payment proposal nudges open the door for telehealth

An Anthem spokesperson said the companies are not disclosing the financial details of the partnership.

The announcement comes in the wake of proposed changes to physician payment rules from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) that expands access to telehealth reimbursement. Telehealth companies like Teladoc and American Well have long viewed insurers as a key gateway into wider adoption in healthcare.

Meanwhile, the partnership elevates Samsung’s interest in healthcare. While Apple has garnered most of the headlines, the mobile technology giant quietly relaunched its health app last year, adding new telehealth functionality from American Well.