This article has been clinically reviewed by FOLX clinicians.
Figuring out how to get supportive health care can be daunting, especially for those of us in the LGBTQIA+ community who have been marginalized by traditional medical systems. Finding the right provider, with availability, in a place you can readily access can feel insurmountable, especially when so many of us have had negative experiences with providers in the past. If you've been searching for a health care platform that understands your unique needs, FOLX Health's virtual primary care could be just the place.
What is virtual primary care?
Imagine receiving medical consultations, prescriptions, and expert health support without the hassle of waiting rooms, the fear of being dead named or misgendered in a clinic, or without being put on a typical outpatient waiting list to be seen in a few months, which is common in today's healthcare system. Fortunately, virtual primary care delivers these services directly through online platforms, granting patients the safety, flexibility, and convenience they've always wanted.
FOLX offers virtual primary care and more. Learn more about what health care services we offer and how we might help you meet your health needs.
Why choose FOLX as your primary care provider?
LGBTQIA+ persons sometimes have difficulty finding a provider who is sensitive and knowledgeable about our unique health care needs. At FOLX, choose clinicians who get you and are current on important LGBTQIA+ relevant science and medical options. Many of us have experienced systems that make assumptions or are not inclusive of LGBTQIA-specific health needs. FOLX is a network of specialized clinicians and a care team with both head and heart in the game. At FOLX, we understand the science and the person in LGBTQIA+ health.
As your expert LGBTQIA+ telehealth primary care provider, we can get care to you fast without waiting times. You can typically make an appointment with a FOLX provider within a few days. We all know how hard it is to find a local primary care provider that gets you. Fortunately, FOLX clinicians can now be your designated primary care provider (PCP) on your insurance card.
Second, we offer services not just during the day but evenings and weekends, as well as in the privacy of your own home or space. You don't have to travel and take time off from work or home to get time with your clinicians. We recognize that many health care needs are private, personal, and sensitive. We respect that and provide this care in a safe and secure telehealth setting. We just expect you to be in a private and safe location at the time of your appointment.
What types of primary care can I get at FOLX?
With telehealth, or virtual primary care at FOLX, you can get basic preventive health care and illness care. FOLX care is for all persons, and we can see patients for various primary care needs, including acute medical problems like back or belly pain, skin problems, allergies, UTIs, and STI testing. You can get help on your wellness journey and manage chronic health conditions like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes. FOLX offers quick easy-to-schedule sick appointments, so you can be seen at home for cold, flu, or other infections and sick day management.
Virtual primary care also includes sexual and reproductive health (including birth control and emergency contraception), fertility and mental health support, and expert-led gender-affirming care. Additionally, we offer anticipatory guidance and prevention visits. We provide referrals to in-person providers for fertility, surgery, and mental health, which makes getting health care with FOLX a great place to start. We'll guide you every step of the way.
How it works at FOLX
For a monthly fee of $39.99 or an annual payment of $299 (a 38% discount), you can join FOLX and experience health care that celebrates your identity and helps you meet your wellness goals. Becoming a FOLX member means that you get access to our LGBTQIA-expert care team and Member Navigators that connect you with a national LGBTQIA-vetted referral network. You can schedule visits with your clinician right away. You'll gain access to our FOLX Community Platform and peer-led support groups, as well as letter writing services (for name changes), and partner discounts for surgeries and fertility services.
If there are needs that are best met in-person, we will work with you to find the best in-person provider to meet those needs. Even if you have a condition that requires in-person appointments, we can still help collaborate and navigate the health care system with you.
Most of our members are able to get an appointment within a few days or even the next day. FOLX offers primary and preventive care, care for everyday ailments, mental health care, and sexual and reproductive health care. With FOLX, you'll have access to care, support, and community for every phase of your life, on your own terms.
You'll only pay for clinical visits and services when you need them. You can use your insurance to cover visits, labs, and prescriptions. Sometimes our out-of-pocket prices for services are even less expensive than the co-pays or deductibles required by certain insurances. Signing up for a membership means you get access (right away) to LGBTQIA-expert clinicians and direct messaging with your care team whenever you need it.
Frequently asked questions about virtual primary health care
What are the benefits of virtual primary care?
Care services via virtual health mean convenience, accessibility, and safety. We know many folks live far from an LGBTQIA-friendly health center. We also know that transportation can cause barriers to getting quality in-person health care. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, digital health has filled in the gaps when in-person care could not. Above all, we value our members' safety and work to ensure you are cared for in a way that feels affirming, safe, and right for you.
What if I need blood work, labs drawn, or radiology?
Your FOLX clinician can help you get any labs or imaging studies (x-rays) for primary care or other health problems. Your clinician can order most labs, x-rays, make referrals, and otherwise create various care plans with you and your local resources.
When do I need to see an in-person clinician?
While many medical visits do not require a comprehensive, detailed physical exam, telehealth has some limitations. Some situations are better suited to seeing someone in person. Sometimes, we may want someone to listen to your heart or lungs, look in your ears, or do a more comprehensive physical exam.
Situations like severe pneumonia, concerns about serious heart conditions, or certain orthopedic conditions might require a referral to an in-person evaluation. We are knowledgeable about what we can and cannot do. If we need a local in-person evaluation, we can help you connect with the appropriate resources and referrals. Your well-being and safety is our priority.
What are some barriers to health care that telehealth can address?
It's important to address challenges to communication In primary care settings. Effective communication during video visits helps establish stronger provider-patient relationships. When it comes to successful chronic disease management, clear communication is essential. We are here to help support you every step of the way, so know that any question is worth asking!
How do I stay in contact with my clinician if I have a question after?
After a visit, you can message your care team anytime about any questions regarding lab results, medications, or care with us via your Athena Patient Portal. Some simple questions can be answered through exchanging messages with your care team. Other questions may require scheduling a video visit to discuss your issue more in-depth with your clinician.
If you have questions about account management, billing, shipping, lab issues, scheduling, referrals, and letters, please get in touch with our Member Navigators via the Help Center. (For LGBTQ resources, you can also reach out to our Member Navigators via the Help Center!)
How do I book an appointment?
Click the "Join Now" button on our website. You'll then get an email with a link to complete your intake.
After you complete your intake, you will also get two more emails. One with another health questionnaire more specific to your general medical history (past and current medical and mental health issues, medications and dosages, allergies, surgeries, family medical history) and what you are coming to see us about.
The other will be with your Zoom link. Please make sure you have this email before your appointment time. That way, if you don't have it for some reason, you can reach out to our Member Navigators in the Help Center to get your link before your appointment.
How do I complete the intake?
You can complete your intake right after you sign up for a clinical visit. If you are not able to complete right then, you will receive email reminders prior to your visit with a link to fill out your intake and input your medical history.. Your medical history includes any chronic conditions, medications you're taking (including dosages), and any allergies. If it's your first time seeing this health care provider, be prepared to discuss your past medical history in detail.
You can choose your preferred pharmacy on the intake and update it yourself anytime in your FOLX account. You also will have the opportunity to submit health insurance, if applicable, before your visit.
Does my primary care doctor have to live in my state?
FOLX can provide care across the US to all our members since we have licensed clinicians (including doctors, nurse practitioners, and nurse midwives) in 49 states (soon to be all 50). When filling out your intake form, input your current address where you live so we can make sure your provider is legally authorized to provide care in that state.
Also, make sure you are in the state the clinician you are seeing is licensed in at the time of your appointment. Ensuring clinicians and patients are in the same state can make getting an appointment, treatment, and medications happen quickly and easily for you. Let us know if you are traveling or moving states and need care! You can always reach out to our Member Navigators, who can help you continue to access FOLX care.
Where do my medications get sent after my virtual primary care visit?
You can have your prescriptions sent to a local or delivery pharmacy of your choice. If you have insurance, you can often use it to pick up your medications. For select medications, such as those commonly prescribed for gender-affirming hormone therapy, you can also choose delivery from the FOLX partner pharmacy. You'll select your pharmacy on intake and can change it in your account anytime.
Can I use health insurance for my virtual primary care visit?
If you're using health insurance, input your insurance information on your intake. FOLX accepts some insurance plans. You can also call your insurance company for any questions about copays and coverage. The information asked for on the intake may include your insurance group number, member ID number, and type of plan, which are listed on your insurance card.
Many of our members do not have health insurance. We work hard to get discounted rates for labs and medications whenever possible.You can review fees for services on our website, visit the Help Center FAQs, or reach out to our Member Navigators for questions about pricing and membership.
How do I prepare for my visit?
To prepare for your virtual primary care visit, find a quiet and private space. Make sure you have a stable internet connection and good wifi. Test out Zoom if you've never used it. For any other questions, reach out to our Member Navigators via the FOLX Help Center.
You may have filled out your medical history beforehand. Having it pulled up for reference during the visit is still helpful. Be sure to have this information ready and a list of medications and symptoms or concerns you'd like to discuss.
Do I need any medical devices?
If you have a blood pressure cuff/monitor, blood glucose meter (glucometer), thermometer, scale, or any other device that could provide useful health information, have that equipment ready for the visit. If you don’t have these, that’s okay! If it is a necessary part of your care, your FOLX clinician can help you obtain the medical equipment you need.
What do I talk to my clinician about?
It's often helpful to have a list of concerns and symptoms ready to discuss ahead of time. Be ready to clearly explain any symptoms or health concerns you have. Consider writing them down ahead of time so you remember everything. Keep in mind that you may not be able to address all your health concerns in a single visit, so start with the issues that concern you most. Prioritize your top 1-2 health concerns to make sure they get discussed during your visit. You can always schedule a follow-up visit.
Some studies show that video communication is associated with higher patient understanding and satisfaction compared with telephone communication. However, we are here to work with you in your health care journey and decisions to make you feel empowered during your video visit.
We do require video for identification (ID), and then you can turn the camera off if that’s more comfortable. Though we always need the camera on at first for ID–we also understand that you may have to turn the camera off during the visit for electronic or connection reasons.
Can I or should I take notes?
Many of us need help remembering everything discussed during a visit. Like in-person medical visits, we have a summary of your care. You can access your visit summary in your Athena Patient Portal, which will have important info about your labs and prescriptions. Still, some folks find that keeping a few notes during the visit helps them remember the details that are important to them.
FOLX is a safe and non-judgmental medical and mental health space. Please understand that we can give you the best advice and recommendations if we truly understand your medical issues, needs, and certain aspects of your personal situation. During the visit, be open and honest with your clinician. Even though you're not in the same physical space, it's important to communicate as if you are. After the visit, make sure you understand the next steps, whether that's a follow-up appointment, tests, or a new medication regimen.
For any questions, please visit the Help Center to review frequently asked questions (FAQs). You can also check out other articles about:
- How membership works
- How to prepare for your virtual primary care visit
- What our clinicians can help you with
- More about FOLX Health membership and services
- Services we offer on our primary care page
Start your journey with FOLX today, and discover the power of a connected health care experience.
Please keep in mind that this is not an emergency service. If you are having a medical emergency, always call 911.
FOLX Health is the first digital healthcare company designed by and for the LGBTQIA+ community. Our services include virtual primary care, gender-affirming hormone therapy including estrogen and testosterone (HRT), mental health care, sexual and reproductive health care, preventive care, and fertility consultations. FOLX memberships give you access to LGBTQIA+ expert clinicians, peer support, thousands of LGBTQIA+ resources, and more. Whether you’re lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, gender non-conforming, or nonbinary, you can find LGBTQIA+-specialized health care that helps you meet your wellness goals. FOLX Health is health care that's queer all year. Get all the benefits of becoming a FOLX member and sign up today!