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Telemedicine is growing in popularity — and for good reason. The costs of medical care, the increased need for mental health services, and the hesitation of in-person visits during the pandemic are all reasons people are turning to their computers and phones to receive medical care.
Of course, there are situations where in-person visits are appropriate, but there is a surprising number of conditions that can be treated through telehealth visits.
One such option is Lemonaid, a new telehealth brand that aims to connect people with affordable healthcare options and healthcare professionals.
Keep reading to find out how it works and if it’s right for you.
Lemonaid is a telehealth medicine service that launched in San Francisco in 2013. Its mission is simple: make healthcare accessible for everyone across the nation. All services are provided via its snazzy mobile app, video call, or phone call.
Lemonaid professionals include medical doctors and nurse practitioners. They’re able to treat over 30 conditions, and each condition has its own guidelines and process for treatment. After a consultation, you may get a prescription for a medication that you can get from their pharmacy.
It has an extensive FAQ page that gives you answers not only about the platform but each condition that its healthcare professionals treat.
As soon as you’re on the homepage, you can see lists of all the conditions Lemonaid’s healthcare professionals treat, such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, hair loss, acne, erectile dysfunction, and more.
Once you click on the condition you want to be treated for, you’ll be prompted to answer some questions about yourself.
When you sign up for Lemonaid, you’ll fill out a questionnaire about your medical history. Note that there are only two choices when it comes to choosing your gender: male or female. A doctor will review your information and contact you for follow-up questions within 24 hours.
If they think you’re a good candidate for this service, you’ll be required to pay a $25 flat fee. However, if you’re not a candidate, your initial consultation fee is waived. Some states have rules requiring a phone or video consult before being treated by telemedicine.
Some conditions such as anxiety and depression require a live video chat with a doctor. This would depend on the type of condition and your own medical history. There may be something concerning that would prompt a doctor to want to see you face-to-face before prescribing medication.
Lemonaid’s mail-order service
Lemonaid offers a mail-order pharmacy that delivers medications to your home. This is cash-pay only, and it doesn’t take insurance. But Lemonaid encourages you to use it due to the convenience of having prescriptions delivered automatically to your door.
If you have a regular doctor you already see, or if you want to go back to your other doctor after using Lemonaid, the service makes it easy to transfer your medical records. After you receive services from Lemonaid, you can get a care summary of notes from the doctor that cared for you to bring to your clinic.
If you don’t have a primary care doctor or your specific ailment doesn’t fall into one of the categories it already treats, you can do a video primary care visit through Lemonaid. Here, you can talk about any health concern you have for one fee, but any testing or medications would be billed separately.
Lemonaid is available for people in every state, but you need to be at least 18 years old to use the platform. You also need to provide your full name, date of birth, and photo ID. This is because Lemonaid professionals need to see who they’re treating, especially because they may be prescribing medications.
Lemonaid healthcare professionals can treat over 30 different conditions, including:
- anxiety and depression
- high blood pressure
- urinary tract infection
- birth control
- acid reflux
- sinus infections
Each condition will have a list of FAQs regarding any restrictions Lemonaid might have. You’ll be notified if there’s something in your medical history that would be best suited for an in-person visit.
Overall, the platform says that Lemonaid is not for everyone, due to the online nature of the service. In the FAQs, Lemonaid explains, “Our doctors and nurse practitioners have to be more cautious than if they were seeing you in person as part of a traditional visit. For this reason, we unfortunately can’t help everyone who wants to use our service.”
Because Lemonaid operates under strict guidelines, it isn’t suitable for people with symptoms associated with comorbidities like alcohol abuse, suicidal thoughts, or psychosis derived from a condition such as schizophrenia.
A 2020 study showed that telehealth is an important tool in medical care, as it secures the provision of healthcare services while keeping patients and healthcare professionals safe, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
When it comes to treating mental health, a 2015 review showed computer-based therapy was effective at reducing symptoms among rural and urban participants. However, rural participants were more likely to want to make use of this kind of therapy. More studies are required to confirm the results.
Dr. Mariea Snell, assistant director of the online doctor of nursing practice program at Maryville University says that while Lemonaid and other telehealth services aren’t meant to replace primary care, they’re great for quickly assessing a single concern.
“For example, if you want to talk to someone about your anxiety and get medication that day, this would be a great option,” says Snell. “If you want to establish care with a provider that will follow you long term and treat multiple conditions, you are better off establishing care with a provider locally that will also offer telehealth visits.”
According to reviews on Lemonaid’s Facebook page, some users had experienced longer than usual wait times, or concerns over their customer service experience. A few weren’t able to be treated virtually because of the medical protocols set in place for people who don’t meet the requirements.
But overall, reviews of Lemonaid describe it as easy, fast, and affordable. One user says, “Within 48 hours, I had a prescription and was able to pick up the medicine I needed. It’s truly an amazing service.”
Your $25 consultation fee covers the initial evaluation by a healthcare professional and a prescription if needed. The cost of the medication would be billed separately. The fee isn’t covered by insurance, but it can be cheaper than some insurance copays. If you don’t qualify for services, the fee is waived and you won’t be charged for anything.
Since Lemonaid’s mail-order pharmacy is cash-pay only, it doesn’t take insurance, but you can use insurance if you take the prescription to your pharmacy.
The primary care video visit costs $75 and doesn’t include any prescriptions or tests that may need to be done.
Anxiety and depression services have a monthly fee of $95 and include ongoing follow-up appointments and any medications delivered to your home.
Lemonaid follows the legal requirements in place for protected health information. You’re not able to delete any of your medical information from the site, but you’re able to close your account so that your username and password can’t be accessed. Lemonaid does inform you that some of your medical information can be shared with third parties, including:
- laboratories, if you need testing
- your state, as required if your tests show chlamydia or gonorrhea
- Lemonaid’s mail-order pharmacy or the pharmacy you choose to have a prescription sent
Lemonaid doesn’t record video chats, but it may take images to use for its records. Text messages and emails are unencrypted, meaning they aren’t secure and can potentially be accessed by other people.
Lemonaid can help you with a large variety of medical conditions, and the services it offers are more extensive than other telehealth platforms. As long as you answer the questions honestly and accurately and meet the requirements for care, you can be treated efficiently and safely with a qualified healthcare professional.
If you’re interested in giving Lemonaid a try, you can get started here.
Risa Kerslake is a registered nurse, freelance writer, and mom of two from the Midwest. She specializes in topics related to women’s health, mental health, oncology, postpartum, and fertility content. She enjoys collecting coffee mugs, crocheting, and attempting to write her memoir. Read more about her work at her website.