Primary Care

Frequently Asked Questions

Answers for questions about Firefly's virtual primary care services, insurance & copays, and general questions regarding our care team model.

What is virtual-first primary care?

Virtual-first means your Firefly care team is set up to support your health needs through video visits and chat. You’ll get personalized primary care — like checkups, chronic disease management, medical advice, wellness coaching, and help with urgent issues — wherever you are, all from the Firefly app on your phone.

We also get that sometimes you need in-person care — that’s why we’re virtual-first, not virtual-only. In those cases, we’ll connect you with one of our Firefly Nearby partners and work closely with them to manage your care.

Is virtual care as good as in-person care?

It’s not about one versus the other. Sometimes, you absolutely need hands-on care. But very often, you don’t.

Going virtual means you avoid a lot of hassle, like waiting weeks for an appointment, juggling time off from work, or a million other things that get in the way of seeing your doctor. Firefly builds upon decades of research on virtual care, and takes the best ideas from the in-person way of doing things, to give you healthcare that fits your life.

What health needs can Firefly handle?

Firefly can handle anything that falls under primary care (and even some things that don’t).

You can count on your Firefly care team to virtually manage:

  • Preventive care like guidance on screenings and labs
  • Chronic conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure
  • ‍Acute concerns like back pain, stomach bugs, headaches, and sinus infections
  • ‍Health coaching to help you reach long-term health goals like losing weight, quitting smoking, or sleeping better
  • Women’s health like birth control counseling and menstrual concerns
  • Mental health support from one of our licensed behavioral health specialists
  • Referrals to excellent specialists in your area
  • Prescribing and refilling medications

If you need hands-on primary care, like an abdomen exam or a swab, your care team will send you to a Firefly Nearby provider at no cost to you. We also make it easy to collect vitals, like blood pressure.

Wondering if or how we can handle your issue? Send us a message in the app.

What if I need to see a provider in person?

If you need hands-on primary care, your Firefly care team will guide you to a Firefly Nearby provider conveniently located near you.

Firefly Nearby providers are our in-person partners who handle things like:

  • Hands-on exams (like abdomen exams)
  • Routine lab work, point-of-care tests, and other swabs and testing
  • EKGs (echocardiogram)
  • X-rays
  • Minor procedures like splints or suture removals

Depending on your need, your Firefly Nearby provider could be a local or regional urgent care clinic, retail store clinic (like CVS Minute Clinic), or even a clinician who comes to your home. Whatever provider you see, they’ll be prepared to give you excellent care at no cost to you.

What if I need a specialist referral or recommendation?

If you need specialty care, you can request a referral right from the app and we’ll refer you to a highly-rated in-network specialist in your area.

How does Firefly check my vitals?

We follow evidence-based guidelines on which vitals need to be checked and how often based on your age, sex, and any chronic conditions you might have.

If you need your vitals checked, you can use any devices you already have at home, like a thermometer or blood pressure cuff. (Don’t worry, your provider will coach you through how to get the most accurate readings). Or we can send you to a Firefly Nearby provider to get these done.

If you have a chronic disease that requires more frequent monitoring, like diabetes or hypertension, we’ll send any devices you need right to your home.

What do I do in an emergency?

If you have a life-threatening emergency, always call 911 right away.

But if you’re not feeling well and want to get checked out — or you’re not sure it’s an emergency — message us in the app. Whatever it is, we want you to contact us first so your Firefly care team can guide you through it. On weekdays between 7AM and 7PM, we’ll respond within 30 minutes. If it's after hours, page us in the app and we’ll call you within an hour.

Can I keep my current primary care provider (PCP) if I sign up for Firefly?

No. When you sign up for Firefly, you’ll choose a Firefly primary care team that includes a physician, nurse practitioner (NP), and health guide. Your team will become your new PCP; they will all work together to support your health and wellness. We're happy to coordinate with your current PCP to transfer your records and make sure the continuity of your care is seamless.

How do I make Firefly my PCP?

If you have a PPO health plan, you just need to book a well visit to meet your team — there’s no need to notify your insurer. If you have an HMO health plan, you’ll also need to notify your insurer after you’ve signed up for Firefly and chosen your care team. (You can usually notify them through your insurance portal.)

To sign up for Firefly, first download the Firefly Health app from the App Store (iOS) or Google Play (Android) onto your mobile phone, then create an account and choose your care team. Questions? Ask us in the app.

Can my children use Firefly as their PCP?

Not if they’re younger than 18 years old. Firefly's primary care offering is only available for adults 18+.

Do I need a device with a camera to get Firefly care?

Yes. To receive the best possible care, you’ll need a phone, tablet, or computer with a camera. A camera makes it possible for your Firefly care team to do video visits with you.

How do I get the Firefly Health mobile app?

To get our mobile app, go to the App Store (iOS) or Google Play (Android) on your mobile phone and search "Firefly Health." Keep in mind: The Firefly app only works on a phone, not a tablet.

How do I schedule an appointment?

It’s easy to schedule appointments through the Firefly Health app. Not sure if your health need or question warrants an appointment? You can always chat your care team in the app first.

What if I decide Firefly Health isn't for me?

You're free to switch to a different primary care provider (PCP) at any time — no cancellation fees or hard feelings. We simply ask that you let us know so we can help transfer your records to your new PCP.

What is a Firefly care team?

We believe that many heads are better than one — so instead of one provider, we give you a physician, nurse practitioner, and health guide who all work together to help you feel your very best. When you sign up, you can learn a bit about each care team and pick the right one for you.

Unlike a lot of traditional primary care providers these days, your Firefly care team has time for you. They’re here to get to know you, answer your questions, manage your health issues, help you hit your health goals, guide you when something urgent comes up, and support you with whatever else you need.

What is the role of a nurse practitioner (NP) at Firefly?

In most cases, the nurse practitioner is the point person on your Firefly care team. Have a medical question? Need routine care? Due for a refill? Your NP’s on it.

NPs are nurses trained at the graduate level. Primary care NPs are licensed and board-certified medical professionals trained to provide primary care, and most states allow them to practice primary care independently. They can perform many of the same services as doctors: diagnose and treat acute conditions, manage chronic diseases, counsel about disease prevention, and prescribe medications. Several peer-reviewed research papers show that NPs provide primary care that is indistinguishable from physician care.

What is the role of a physician at Firefly?

The physician on your Firefly care team collaborates with and supports the NP when more complex issues come up. You’ll usually meet with your NP but can request a visit with your physician, too.

What is the role of a health guide at Firefly?

The health guide on your Firefly care team is there to support you in reaching your individual health and wellness goals. (Real talk: They’re the health coach you always wanted but never thought you could afford.) They’re trained to give nutrition, physical activity, and other wellness guidance. Getting healthy can feel overwhelming at first; that all changes with a health guide in your corner to help you establish behaviors that stick and keep you motivated along the way.

What is the role of a behavioral health specialist?

Because mental health is essential to overall health and well-being, every Firefly member has the option to work with a licensed behavioral health specialist for short-term, solution-based therapy. The behavioral health specialist will start by understanding your unique needs, then work with your care team to create a complete treatment plan that could include lifestyle changes, medications, specialists for long-term therapy, or other treatments.

Will I talk to someone on my care team every time?

Most of the time, but not always. Because we want to help you as quickly and conveniently as possible, you may occasionally talk to a Firefly provider outside your care team — say, if you need after-hours care or support handling a straightforward problem, like a sinus infection or urinary tract infection.

Can I see my primary care team in person?

Firefly providers only practice virtually. But when you need in-person primary or specialty care, we’ll connect you to the right provider for your needs.

What does it cost to use Firefly Health?

We won’t charge you anything to be a member; we accept insurance just like a traditional primary care provider does.

For video visits with your care team, your costs will follow your health plan’s primary care benefit (for example, your health plan may require you to pay a copay). Depending on your health plan, your costs to use Firefly might actually be lower than what you’d pay to see a traditional PCP. Check with your health plan for details.

As a Firefly member, you’ll also get in-app chat, personalized care plans, prescription refill requests, and health coaching included at no cost to you.

What insurance does Firefly take?

We currently accept new members covered by most plans from Aetna, Anthem Maine, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Maine Community Health Options, Tufts Health Plan, UniCare, and UnitedHealthcare, with more coming soon.

Do you accept Medicare and Medicaid?

No, we don’t accept Medicare, Medicaid, or any other public plans at this time — but we're working on it.

What happens if I'm a Firefly patient and I "age in" to Medicare?

If you're an existing patient who "ages in" to Medicare, we'll accept your new coverage and continue to provide you excellent, uninterrupted care.