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- Best overall: Sesame Care
- Most affordable telemedicine company: PlushCare
- Best telemedicine company for nonurgent medical care: Teladoc
- Best telemedicine company for fast, straightforward service: MeMD
- Best telemedicine company for consistent care provider: HealthTap
- Best telemedicine company for general medical care: Amwell
- Best comprehensive telemedicine company: MDLive
- Best telemedicine company for choosing a specific doctor: Doctor on Demand
- Best telemedicine company for custom treatment plans: LiveHealth Online
- Best telemedicine company for quick response time: Virtuwell
It can be difficult to make time to see a doctor at the best of times, and even more so if the ongoing pandemic creates additional concerns. Between busy schedules and limited appointment availability, staying healthy can lead to extra stress.
Telemedicine allows you to discuss nonemergency medical issues with a doctor by phone or online at a time that’s convenient for you.
Telemedicine offers access to licensed medical professionals for people who may not have access otherwise. It often provides lower costs for services.
It also can be a cost-effective way for people who do not have insurance or whose insurance does not cover certain costs to get care.
Though telemedicine can be beneficial for a number of reasons, it should not replace in-person doctor visits.
It’s important to keep in mind that telemedicine healthcare professionals do not have the ability to take your blood or urine samples, heart rate, blood pressure, or other important medical tests.
Telemedicine is great and very convenient for anyone with a busy job, hectic life, or otherwise jam-packed schedule.
Attending an appointment virtually at home or your office can make all the difference for needing to find and pay for child care or taking time off of work.
Plus, it’s a great option for people who may not otherwise have access to certain physicians or physician types, or who cannot afford or prefer not to pay the price of standard medical visits.
Additionally, people who are immunocompromised or who have underlying health conditions could be at greater risk when in a doctor’s office.
Telemedicine is also a very accessible way to see a physician for certain purposes, like refilling a prescription or sharing preliminary information, checking symptoms, or bringing up concerns about a health issue that does not require a physical examination.
This is especially true for people with disabilities or who have limitations getting around physically, or those who are geographically isolated or
That said, telemedicine is inaccessible to anyone without regular computer or smartphone access or a reliable internet connection.
We chose the following telemedicine options based on:
- Ratings. We carefully considered customer reviews to find out what it’s really like to use these telemedicine companies.
- Types of services offered. We looked for companies that can help with a variety of medical issues, and many also offer lab testing and mental health services.
- Pricing. We chose companies that offer different payment options to suit a variety of budgets.
- Accessibility. We considered how services and results are delivered — via phone call, video, apps, and more — and whether you’ll have access to 24/7 care.
- Vetting. The companies on our list have been vetted to ensure that they align with Healthline’s brand integrity standards and approach to well-being. You can read more about our vetting process.
Here are 10 of the best telemedicine companies.
You can book a same-day appointment for an initial health visit. Prices vary by location, and reviewers say prices are overall affordable.
Sesame Care providers are often less expensive than your health insurance copay. However, depending on your coverage, you might be eligible for reimbursement of healthcare fees for professionals not usually covered by your insurance network.
If you have medication prescribed at a local pharmacy, you can use your insurance to pay for the medication, and you will only owe your copay or deductible costs for that medication.
Sesame Care offers a number of treatments for medical issues like:
- skin care
- mental health
- wellness and disease prevention
- chronic condition care
- diabetes care
- men’s health
- can book same-day appointments
- affordable prices
- wait times can be long
- documentation not provided
Most affordable telemedicine company
PlushCare books video appointments online or via its app. You can book ahead for when it’s convenient or find a same-day appointment if you need one. The company says it offers treatments “from head to toe.”
PlushCare can also refill many common prescriptions and send them to your local pharmacy, although that list does not include controlled substances.
PlushCare is in-network with many insurers. It requires a monthly membership fee of $14.99 or $99 for the year, after which the first visit is either $119 or your insurance copay.
- works with insurance plans
- same-day appointments available
- communication issues have come up
- some drugs cannot be prescribed
Best telemedicine company for nonurgent medical care
Teladoc was one of the first telehealth companies in the United States. The company has maintained a highly favorable rating among physicians and patients.
Teladoc’s team helps by connecting you to your choice of an in-network lab or facility. Your healthcare professional reviews your results with you, which are uploaded to your account once ready.
If you have insurance, general medical visit fees can be as low as $0 and are $75 if you do not have insurance. Pricing varies based on your insurance plan and your medical care needs. Contact Teladoc for more details.
Teladoc can be used for a wide range of medical issues, including:
- pediatric services
- nonemergency medical issues
- dermatological conditions
- mental health consultations for conditions such as depression and substance use disorders
- sexual health consultations
Teladoc physicians can also send prescriptions to your pharmacy or analyze lab results. Your primary care physician can order lab work, imaging studies, vaccinations, and referrals.
- covers a wide range of health issues
- can analyze lab results and send prescriptions to pharmacies
- some people report technical issues with the app
- account setup can be complex or time consuming
Best telemedicine company for fast, straightforward service
Creating an account on MeMD is simple. Once your account is set up, you can speak with a nurse practitioner or physician directly via webcam.
You and your healthcare professional can discuss one symptom or condition, or you can discuss multiple symptoms or conditions during a single consultation without paying an additional fee.
Lab tests cannot be ordered through MeMD, but healthcare professionals can answer questions about an existing lab report.
MeMD healthcare professionals can also send needed prescriptions to your preferred pharmacy.
Urgent care services are $67, as are men’s and women’s health visits. A talk therapy session can cost up to $85.
For psychiatry, an initial 45-minute visit is $229. Follow-up visits “to manage medications and evaluate progress” are $99.
- easy and fast tool
- known for good customer service
- appointments may be rescheduled if healthcare professionals are not available
- some people need to be referred to other clinics or doctors
Best telemedicine company for consistent care provider
HealthTap claims to have 90,000 U.S.-licensed physicians to answer your health questions. Doctors are available for video chats or to answer text messages. They can also order lab tests and write or refill prescriptions.
Memberships cost $15 monthly, billed for a year at a time.
Notably, a free account can still access an automated symptom checker and get personalized answers to anonymous health questions within a day.
- more affordable for people without insurance
- option to have a free account
- can use the same doctor for consistency
- response times can be slow
- depending on the issue, some consultations may be general or not specialized
Best telemedicine company for general medical care
Two brothers who are both doctors founded American Well, which was rebranded as Amwell. They wanted to make basic healthcare more affordable and eliminate barriers, such as distance, mobility, and time.
When using the service, you’ll be matched with doctors in your state. Appointment costs vary by type, with urgent care visits starting at $79 before insurance.
In addition to urgent care and general medical questions, Amwell also has a variety of other video medical services available:
- widely acclaimed therapy
- breastfeeding support
- nutrition counseling
- women’s health
- second opinions
- easy enrollment
- choose your own physician
- only certain insurers cover services
- may experience technical issues
Best comprehensive telemedicine company
MDLive was founded in 2009. The company is continually building partnerships with healthcare systems across the United States.
Urgent care visits are $82 or possibly less, depending on your insurance. The same goes for dermatology at $95 and counseling at $108. An initial psychiatric visit is $284, with follow-ups at $108.
Board certified physicians and other healthcare professionals are available by phone or online video 24 hours per day. They can help answer your questions about nonemergency medical conditions, such as:
Mental health professionals are also available.
- accepts psychiatry or therapy appointments for children 10 and up
- appointments can be made 24/7 for 365 days per year
- therapist availability may be limited
- certain medications cannot be prescribed
Best telemedicine company for choosing a specific doctor
One thing that sets Doctor on Demand apart from its competitors is that it allows people to add a doctor to their “favorites.” After your first consultation, you can select that doctor again if they’re available when you’re scheduling future appointments.
Doctor on Demand also offers new parents online assistance from board certified lactation consultants.
Connecting with a doctor for 15 minutes costs $75. For mental health services, the price scales up to $299 for an initial 45-minute psychiatric consultation. Video visits under this service are covered by Medicare Part B.
- choose a therapist or psychiatrist based on their specialty and qualifications
- full team (primary care, therapist, and psychiatrist) is available to help you
- can select a “favorite” doctor
- without insurance, a short teletherapy visit might cost more than a longer in-person therapy appointment
- might take a few days to get an appointment
Best telemedicine company for custom treatment plans
LiveHealth Online lets members select their doctors. Once you sign up, you can see who’s available in your state and then request a video consultation.
The platform says you should be connected with the doctor you’ve chosen within a few minutes.
Doctors are available for appointments 24/7.
LiveHealth’s offerings include allergy visits, in which you can map out a treatment plan and get a prescription if needed.
Several major insurance companies cover LiveHealth visits, which start from $59 without insurance.
- ability to choose your own doctor
- can refill prescriptions easily
- some people experience long wait times
- appointments might be canceled or rescheduled
Best telemedicine company for quick response time
Virtuwell handles the diagnostic part of telemedicine by asking you to describe your symptoms in an online interview.
If the symptoms and condition sound like something Virtuwell can treat, a nurse practitioner will receive the report. They can then look at a visible symptom, if necessary, and create a treatment plan.
The service costs $59 without insurance. Virtuwell says it guarantees satisfaction or a refund.
Conditions eligible for virtual consultations include:
- colds and flus
- birth control
- skin conditions
- certain sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- other basic nonemergency health issues
- advice available for a variety of conditions
- easy-to-use platform
- staffed by board certified nurse practitioners who cannot offer as many services as doctors
- need to answer a questionnaire first before being connected with a nurse practitioner
With so many telemedicine options to choose from, you might not know where to begin. By focusing on which companies specialize in or accommodate what you need, you can narrow down the right options for you.
For example, if you have a specific health condition or communication style preference, look into telemedicine companies that have experience with similar ailments or work in the way you want.
You should also consider whether you’re likely to need lab work or prescriptions and ensure the provider you’re considering can arrange for those.
Lastly, it’s important to consider your preferred payment method. Maybe you need a company that can provide documentation for your health insurance reimbursement, or maybe you prefer to pay by debit. Find out in advance if the company you choose can accommodate different payment options.
|Company||Best for||Price||Prescriptions||Service delivery||Mental health services||Lab testing|
|Sesame Care||range of services||varies by provider||yes||video||yes||yes|
|PlushCare||affordability||$14.99 per month or $99 per year, then first visit is $119 or your insurance copay||yes||video||yes||yes|
|Teladoc||nonurgent care||general medical visits can be $0 or $75 without insurance||yes||phone, video||yes||yes|
|MeMD||quick, no-fuss service||from $67||yes||video||yes||no|
|HealthTap||consistency||$15 per month for a year||yes||video, chat||yes||yes|
|Amwell||general care||varies (urgent care visits start at $79 before insurance)||yes||video||yes||yes|
|MDLive||comprehensiveness||from $82 or less, depending on insurance||yes||phone, video||yes||yes|
|Doctor on Demand||choice of doctor||from $75||yes||video||yes||yes|
|LiveHealth Online||custom treatment plans||from $59||yes||video||yes||no|
|Virtuwell||response time||$59||yes||online form||no||no|
Telemedicine services allow people to get healthcare services digitally, usually with a computer or smartphone app. Some telemedicine platforms also provide services through phone calls and emails.
Telemedicine should not be used in place of an in-person doctor visit. Instead, services can be used to:
- assess when an in-person visit is necessary
- prescribe and renew certain medications
- treat minor medical conditions
- provide mental health services
Many telemedicine services accept insurance plans from major providers, but one benefit of telemedicine is that most services are made to be cost-effective for people who do not have insurance.
Telemedicine specifically refers to digital clinical healthcare services.
Telehealth is broader and includes nonclinical health services.
Telehealth can include services such as provider training and medical education, as well as other nonclinical services and information.
Though there are slight differences between telemedicine and telehealth, the two terms are often used interchangeably.
If you’re looking to save money on healthcare expenses or you do not have health insurance, there are some low cost and free health services available.
For example, the Health and Human Services Health Resources Services Administration offers a directory of health clinics that operate on a sliding scale. If you do not have insurance or cannot pay, you can still get care.
If you’re looking for a pregnancy test, birth control, or services related to sexual health, Planned Parenthood offers many discounted and free services.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration offers a confidential free service for anyone dealing with substance and mental health issues. Some of the telehealth services mentioned above can be free with insurance, like Teledoc and LiveHealth Online.
Who is the largest telemedicine provider?
Teladoc Health is the largest telemedicine provider, with $1.09 billion in revenue and over 1,800 employees.
Who are the leaders in telemedicine?
Aside from Teladoc Health, the key leaders in telemedicine are Amwell, MDLive, and Doctor on Demand.
Who is Teladoc’s biggest competitor?
MDLive is Teladoc’s biggest competitor, with $140.9 million in revenue.
What does telemedicine exclude?
Telemedicine healthcare professionals cannot take blood or urine samples, heart rate, blood pressure, or other important medical tests. These things still must be done at a lab or through an in-person physician visit.
Telemedicine makes it easier than ever to get medical treatment. It can also be a more affordable alternative for people without insurance.