Sesame Is a New Health Care Marketplace for the Uninsured

It’s no secret that the United States healthcare system has many faults. From access issues to unmanageable medical bills, the list drags on. A recent study from the Commonwealth Fund found that 43.4% of Americans age 19 to 64 were inadequately insured during the first half of 2020. The average cost for an American family’s premium increased by 4% in 2020, reaching a staggering $21,342.

[ Read: The Complete Guide to Health Insurance ]

The struggle to pay for health care existed before the pandemic. Millions have been out of work, without insurance and with few options. As traditional health care providers lean on telemedicine sessions, and more insurers eliminate copayments and deductibles, a company is taking on the task of making health care possible for a specific group: the uninsured.  “Doctors on Sesame’s marketplace list their own prices, which cuts out the middlemen that drive up costs of traditional healthcare,” says David Goldhill, Sesame CEO and Co-founder. 

“We pass those lower prices directly to patients — saving them up to 60% on average. All prices are clear and shown upfront, so patients never have to worry about surprise bills.”

Sesame wants to change things

Sesame is a direct-to-patient healthcare company that hopes to simplify the sometimes convoluted process of scheduling a medical appointment. No insurance is required, and according to its website, “the price you see is the price you pay — regardless of your coverage.” Customers can pay upfront, in cash before a virtual visit and manage cost between $50-$125.

With no more hoops to jump through or lengthy waiting room visits, it’s not hard to see why Sesame is seeing success. Recently, the company was able to expand into both New York and Houston. 

[ Read: Here’s Why US Prescription Drug Prices Are so High ]

Part of Sesame’s plan to offer accessibility focuses on the pain points many of us feel — like the lack of transparency in medical billing. The health care platform states there are no unexplained charges or hidden fees. The reasonably-priced appointments mean extra flexibility and fewer worries about copays or meeting your deductible, making it appealing to the freelance and self-employed community. 

“Sesame is a great healthcare option for freelancers and self-employed. You simply won’t find any type of care — urgent, primary, dentistry, imaging, therapy, and more — with real, quality doctors at these unbeatable prices anywhere else,” says Goldhill. Customers also have the option to find bundles or subscriptions for recurring needs. 

Can the future of healthcare look like this? 

Sesame sounds convenient, though we can’t leave out the obvious — its recent dive into virtual appointments. This telehealth option does raise concerns about realistic access to the elderly, those without computers and rural communities with weaker coverage. For the service to reach all Americans, more investments would have to be made. 

[ Read: How COVID-19 Could Change Insurance For the Better ]

All that said, Sesame seems to be solving a problem. It’s bringing a new version of medical care to people, at a time when social distancing is imperative in health care settings. As well as affordable options for the 29 million people who are uninsured in the U.S. 

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Taylor Leamey

Personal Finance Reporter

Taylor Leamey is a personal finance reporter at The Simple Dollar who specializes in personal loans, student loans, mortgages, renters, and financial policy. Her reporting has also been featured at CreditCards.com, Interest.com, Reviews.com, MyMove.com, and elsewhere.

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  • Andrea Perez
    Andrea Perez
    Personal Finance Editor

    Andrea Perez is an editor at The Simple Dollar who leads our news and opinion coverage. She specializes in financial policy, banking, and investing.