Insights

Cheaper Alternative to Cerebral Mental Health

Dvora Kluwgant, MD
Dvora Kluwgant, MD19 Apr 2022

Healthcare subscriptions offer an affordable alternative to traditional health insurance for both individuals as well as employers. However, it can be overwhelming to look through all of the available options and choose which one is right for you. To help you understand which healthcare subscription can best meet your needs, or the needs of your employees, we’ve compared four popular healthcare subscriptions: Mira, KHealth, Cerebral, and Plushcare. 

If you’re looking for a more affordable alternative to health insurance, Mira might be a great fit for you. For just $45 per month, members get access to low-cost urgent care visits, affordable lab testing and discounted prescriptions at up to 80% off. Sign up today and start saving on healthcare.

What is the difference between health insurance and healthcare subscriptions?

Borne out of frustration with the US healthcare system’s rising costs and inefficiencies, healthcare subscriptions have gained popularity in recent years. Healthcare subscriptions increase access to primary care and preventative services, which has been proven to decrease overall healthcare expenditure. 

Healthcare subscription companies work with providers to negotiate affordable rates for their subscribers, who pay a fixed membership fee. This is vastly different from traditional health insurance, where individuals must pay a monthly premium and reach a deductible before the insurer contributes to the cost of care. 

Healthcare subscriptions are generally much less expensive than traditional health insurance coverage. For example, Mira costs $45 per month and gives subscribers access to a wide range of services including preventative and urgent care, discounted prescriptions, and lab testing. In contrast, the average cost of traditional health insurance for a family of four was $22,221 in 2021, although with employer-sponsored health insurance, employers contribute a portion. 

Healthcare Subscription Comparison

PlanServices OfferedLocationsPrice Ease of Use
Cerebral
  • Virtual care for mental health conditions
  • Care counseling
  • Medication management
  • Virtual therapy
  • Medication available in all states.
  • Therapy plans available in many states
  • $85 per month for medication and care counseling
  • $325 per month for medication and therapy
  • $259 per month for therapy
  • $69 per month for nutrition counseling
  • $250 for opioid treatment


 

*All subscriptions are $29 per month for those with in-network insurance coverage

  • App
  • Telehealth services
Mira
  • Preventative Care
  • Virtual care
  • Urgent care
  • Lab testing
  • Discounted prescriptions
  • Gym discounts
  • Navigation referral for services not offered
  • Over 1,100 clinics
  • Virtual care in all 50 states
  • 35+ states
  • $25 - $60 based on plan
  • App and personalized health hub
  • Member care team can help you find services and providers near you
KHealth
  • Text-based telehealth
  • Discounted prescriptions
  • Care available in all contiguous 48 states
  • $29 for a once-off visit
  • $19/ month fo a subscription
  • Text message -based system
Plushcare
  • Virtual care
  • Available in all 50 states
  • $14.99 per month or $99 per year
  • Standard copay for 1st visit if insured, $119 for 1st visit if uninsured
  • App

Cost

For those seeking a healthcare subscription that covers a wider range of services and in-person care, Mira is the most budget-friendly option. With Mira, doctor’s visits are billed at a flat rate of $49 to $99, depending on your plan.

If you are in need of once-off care and budget is your primary concern, KHealth is another good option for you. With KHealth, you simply pay $29 for one text-based visit with a provider.  The same is true for Plushcare, which offers plans starting at $14.99 per month plus copays and also relies on virtual health service delivery. Unfortunately, not all issues can be solved with text messaging, and sometimes you will need a more comprehensive option. 

Locations

For most of the healthcare subscriptions discussed, virtual care is available in all 50 states. Cerebral offers virtual care in 29 states and plans to expand. However, Mira is the only option for in-person care at clinics across 45 states and is continuing to expand care sites.

Health Image

Get Mira - Health Benefits You Can Afford.

Get doctor visits, lab tests, prescription, and more. Affordable copays. Available in 45+ states. Only $45/month on average.

Mental Health

The best healthcare subscription for mental health services is Cerebral, which aims to offer a comprehensive package of mental health services including therapy, medication and care counseling, diagnosis, and prescriptions. Cerebral even has a program for people suffering from opioid use disorder that uses medication assisted therapy.

The downside to Cerebral is that it can be quite costly - for example, therapy and medication with Cerebral costs $325 per month. While this may be lower than the average cost of virtual therapy and medication without insurance, it is still expensive. It should, however, be noted that the costs at Cerebral are significantly lower for those who have in-network insurance coverage.

Mira is another great option for mental health services. Mira recently added options for unlimited virtual behavioral health services for just  $15 per month with membership.

Most Comprehensive

In terms of range of services offered, Mira wins hands down. With locations across 35 states, Mira’s offerings are far more comprehensive than competitors. With Mira, subscribers can access services such as urgent care, lab testing, discounted prescriptions, and even lifestyle benefits such as discounted gym memberships. Mira also offers access to low cost virtual mental health services.

Mira is also currently expanding their available options to include gynecologic and other specialty care. Additionally, if subscribers require services not covered by Mira, they have access to Mira’s navigation services, which means that Mira will make enquiries on their behalf to find affordable options close to the subscriber. 

Healthcare Subscription Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

Given the novelty of healthcare subscriptions, it can be difficult to understand exactly how they work and who they are best for. Below are some of the most common questions relating to healthcare subscriptions. 

How long does it take to be approved for a healthcare subscription?

Unlike traditional insurance plans, healthcare subscriptions do not have restrictions on who can qualify for coverage. Healthcare subscriptions usually do not require a medical exam in order to begin coverage. This means you can sign up and get access to care on the same day, no waiting necessary.

Health Image

Virtual care for only $25 per visit

Virtual primary care, urgent care, and behavioral health visits are only $25 with a Mira membership.

Many healthcare subscriptions services are virtual - what are the pros and cons of this?

Telehealth has soared in popularity in recent years, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic. While telehealth cannot be used for every aspect of healthcare, it has some great advantages over traditional, in person care, including:

  • Convenience
  • Similar efficacy and satisfaction from patients
  • Expanded access

Unfortunately, telehealth is not covered by all insurance providers and is not suitable for many emergencies. That being said, many healthcare subscriptions, such as Mira, boast a robust set of telehealth services which are available to you at a low cost. 

How can I cover catastrophes when I am using a healthcare subscription? 

For those looking to have extra coverage in case of serious injury or emergency, coupling catastrophic insurance from a traditional insurance company with a healthcare subscription like Mira can be a great option. Catastrophic coverage is available to people under 30 years old, and can provide coverage for significant emergencies with a low monthly premium. There are also eligibility criteria for older individuals who qualify based on financial need. 

Can I use healthcare subscriptions like Mira to provide healthcare to my employees?

Mira is a great way to give your contract and part-time employees access to quality healthcare. Giving such employees access to healthcare can help your company attract and retain talent since ⅔ of job applicants report preferring jobs with greater benefits than those with higher pay. Additionally, with Mira, you can create a free company account and write off the costs as a business expense. 

Can my family get access to care through my healthcare subscription?

With Mira, members can add up to 10 family members age 11+ (or even friends) to their plan for an additional cost. For employers with fewer than 50 employees, Mira can be used to provide healthcare access to both W2 employees and 1099 contractors and their dependents.  

Bottom Line 

Healthcare subscriptions are an up-and-coming way to access healthcare. There are now a wide variety of companies offering healthcare subscriptions for many different services. Some of these include Mira, Plushcare, KHealth and Cerebral. While KHealth and Plushcare provide quick and inexpensive access to virtual providers, Cerebral focuses on mental health. Mira offers the most comprehensive plans at an affordable price.

If you’re looking for an affordable option for healthcare for you, your family, or your employees, Mira may be right for you. With a Mira membership, you gain access to a variety of healthcare services, including preventative care, urgent care, and lab testing. Mira also provides prescriptions at discounts of up to 80% for the low price of $45 per month. Try Mira today!

Dvora Kluwgant, MD

Dvora is a recent medical graduate and current MPH student who is passionate about women’s health and health equity. She hopes to specialize in Obstetrics and Gynecology and is excited to join the Mira team in empowering people through healthcare. In her spare time she enjoys exercise, reading and spending time with her family and her dog, Dash.