Best Online Doctor

When you're not feeling well, dragging yourself to the doctor's office is probably the last thing you want to do. Online doctors are on call to help you get better from the comfort of your own home.

The best online doctors treat a wide range of conditions, with services including urgent care, mental health screenings, counseling, and even dentistry. Physicians are always board-certified and usually have years of experience in their field, so you can be sure your health is in good hands. We chose the best online physicians based on factors such as treatment options, insurances accepted, and whether or not they can prescribe medication.

The 16 Best Online Doctors of 2021

Doctor on Demand: Best for ongoing primary care
Doctor on Demand offers routine wellness checks, urgent care, counseling, and psychiatric services. Patients can choose their doctor and visit their favorites at any time.

Teladoc: Best for local virtual care
With a large provider network in all 50 states, Teladoc matches you with a local doctor who understands the health trends in your area.

Amwell: Best for second opinions
Amwell’s MyConsult service is ideal for people who’d like a second opinion on a diagnosis and aren’t sure if their treatment plan is best for them.

Rethink My Healthcare: Best for couples counseling
This company offers joint virtual couples counseling aimed at busy partners who’d like to improve their relationship.

Maven: Best for family planning
Maven guides people having children and their partners through every step of planning and raising a family.

MDLIVE: Best for quick psychiatric appointments
It can take weeks or longer to get an appointment with an in-person psychiatrist, but MDLIVE can connect you in just a few days. 

LiveHealth Online: Best for allergy treatment
LiveHealth Online’s specialists are equipped to evaluate and treat excessive sneezing, congestion, puffy eyes, and other common allergy symptoms.

Anytime Pediatrics: Best for child health care
Anytime Pediatrics provides urgent care for children and young adults. Service includes virtual consultations with your child’s regular pediatrician or another trusted doctor in the company network.

Crossover: Best for care coordination
Crossover is an integrated care management service that’s ideal for patients who see multiple doctors and specialists.

BetterHelp.com: Best for therapy anytime
BetterHelp offers flexible ways to speak with a therapist, including scheduled video appointments and 24/7 text messaging.

HealthTap: Best for AI-guided symptom evaluations
Enter your medical concerns into HealthTap’s AI symptom checker to learn about possible causes, then get matched with a doctor qualified to help you.

Hims: Best for men’s health
Hims doctors provide advice and treatment for common health complaints among people assigned male at birth, including performance anxiety, erectile dysfunction, and loss or thinning of hair.

JustAnswer: Best for quick medical questions
When you have a medical question but can’t wait for an appointment, JustAnswer doctors can respond within minutes.

PlushCare: Best for comprehensive care
Get access to everyday primary care, urgent care, and online therapy on PlushCare with a flat monthly fee.

Sesame: Best for its in-person care option
Sesame doctors are local to you, so you’re able to schedule a visit in-person or virtually–whichever fits your schedule best.

SteadyMD: Best for customized doctor-patient matching
SteadyMD aims to match you with a doctor who’s a perfect fit for your lifestyle, health goals, and specific medical conditions.

How We Chose the Best Online Doctors

We chose the best online doctors and medical services based on factors most patients find important, such as reliability, flexible appointment times, insurances accepted, and customer satisfaction. We’ve also provided options at varying price points to suit many types of patients.

How can you reach a doctor?

The best online doctors offer a variety of ways to connect with patients, such as live chat, text messaging, phone calls, and email. Video consultations are the most common way to meet with a telehealth provider, as a visual examination is often required for an accurate diagnosis. Most telehealth services are app-based and accessible via a desktop computer or mobile devices.

What services are available?

Online doctors provide many of the same services you can get from an in-person visit, including preventative care, treatment for chronic conditions and acute medical concerns, lab orders, and more. Ideally, telehealth doctors should be able to send prescriptions to your local pharmacy, although there may be some restrictions on the types of drugs they can prescribe. Many online doctor networks include clinical psychologists and psychiatrists who practice mental and behavioral health care. Specialists usually aren’t included, but most physicians can provide referrals to a specialist in your area.

How long does it take to reach a doctor?

Most telehealth services have same-day appointments and can connect you to a doctor almost instantly. The best online doctors let you choose a specific appointment time that’s convenient for you. Services with a large doctor network offer 24/7, on-demand virtual visits, so you’ll get trusted medical care any time, day or night.

The Best Online Doctors of 2021

Doctor on Demand

Doctor on Demand

Doctor on Demand provides telemedicine services for preventative health, urgent care, mental health, and treatment for chronic conditions. Appointments are available 24/7, and you can see the same provider regularly once you’ve found the one you like. The service is focused on building a fulfilling doctor-patient relationship that can replace or supplement visits with a primary care physician. Doctors can order lab tests, prescribe medications, and provide refills for drugs you’re currently taking. You’ll pay a flat fee for each 15-minute video consultation, with an extra charge for therapy and psychiatry services. Doctor on Demand is covered by most health plans, including Medicare.

Doctor on Demand’s urgent care services can treat issues such as headaches, fever, skin conditions, allergies, and health problems specific to women and men. The service isn’t intended for problems that may require emergency room care, though, including chest pain, severe burns, broken bones, and difficulty breathing.

Doctor on Demand has a free mental health assessment that can help you determine if you’d benefit from professional counseling services. Its network of therapists and psychiatrists offer talk therapy and medication management, as well as diagnoses for depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders.

CostInsurance acceptedServices
15-minute live sessions: $75

Therapy: $129

Psychiatry: $299
YesPrimary care
Urgent care
Mental health care
Chronic condition management

Pros and Cons of Doctor on Demand

Pros:

  • Long-term primary care
  • Psychiatric care available
  • Most insurance accepted

Cons:

  • Additional $75 charge for visits exceeding 15 minutes
  • No automatic prescription refills, except for psychiatric drugs

Do customers like Doctor on Demand?

Customers agree that Doctor on Demand provides excellent care that saves them time and money. As one says, “With my current health insurance, I’m actually SAVING money because I don’t have a copay to use this app.” “I waited less than two minutes and the appointment probably only took five minutes,” writes another. The biggest complaint is a lack of responsive customer service. “I have messaged multiple times with no reply,” one user remarks.

Teladoc

Teladoc

Teladoc’s network includes urgent care doctors, therapists, pediatricians, and specialists in more than 450 fields. Its Primary360 service matches you with a local doctor who understands illnesses and health trends in your area, which may help you receive a more accurate diagnosis.

Get Care Now provides treatment for adults and kids suffering from colds, infections, stomachaches, and other non-emergency concerns. With both services, doctors can prescribe medication, order lab tests, and share medical notes with other clinicians in your care team. Counselors and psychiatrists are on call for mental health screenings and talk therapy. Teladoc offers wellness coaching for tobacco cessation, spine care, and management of chronic conditions such as diabetes.

Consultations are available 24 hours a day and provided via phone, video chat, and the Teladoc app. The company charges a flat rate for urgent and primary care, although you might pay as little as $0 per visit, depending on your insurance. There is an additional fee for psychiatry and dermatology services, but this isn’t disclosed on the Teladoc website, so you’ll need to set up an account to see the amount.

CostInsurance acceptedServices
Everyday Care: $0/visit (with insurance)

Everyday Care: $75/visit (without insurance)
YesUrgent care
Primary care
Mental health care
Nutrition
Dermatology
STD testing

Pros & Cons of Teladoc

Pros:

  • A large network of specialists
  • Wellness coaching
  • No time limit for consultations

Cons:

  • Unclear pricing for some services
  • Primary360 care for adults 18+ only

Do customers like Teledoc?

“The app is really easy to set up and walks you through everything. Scheduling appointments is easy and it’s fast,” says a customer who’s impressed with the service. Another is pleased with Teledoc’s pricing, saying, “My insurance covers this service so it is super convenient.” However, some customers had difficulty connecting with a doctor by phone. One writes, “My biggest irritation is when receiving calls from the doctor, it will come from an unlisted number.”

Amwell

Amwell

Amwell’s urgent care consultations are available 24/7, with no appointment required to see a doctor. You’ll provide the reason for your visit and get matched with a board-certified physician almost immediately.

Therapy and psychiatry services are also available for an extra fee and include one-on-one counseling, mental illness screening, and medication management. Amwell provides a number of specialty services for women who are pregnant, postpartum, breastfeeding, or going through menopause. Its network includes pediatricians who treat infections, rashes, allergies, and many other common medical problems in kids.

Amwell is partnered with the Cleveland Clinic to offer its MyConsult service, which provides a second opinion on any third-party diagnosis.

Amwell isn’t intended for ongoing primary care, so you can’t choose to see the same doctor on a regular basis. Doctors can write prescriptions for many types of medications, such as antibiotics and blood pressure drugs, but they’re unable to order lab tests on your behalf. Amwell charges a flat rate per 10-minute visit and accepts all major insurance providers.

CostInsurance acceptedServices
Urgent care: $79

Therapy: Master’s degree visit for $99, Ph.D. visit for $110

Psychiatry: Initial assessment $269, Follow-up visits $99
YesUrgent care
Second opinions
Mental health care
Dermatology
Pediatrics
Women’s health

Pros & Cons of Amwell

Pros:

  • No appointment needed for urgent care
  • 24/7 support
  • Second opinions offered

Cons:

  • Can’t order lab tests
  • Not for primary care

Do customers like Amwell?

Overall, Amwell customers praise the company’s accessible approach to care. “The visits are convenient, the staff more than competent, and the fees reasonable,” writes a user. Another notes, “The physician was personable and listened very well to my symptoms. The treatment he prescribed help me a lot.” However, some patients have experienced billing issues. One says, “I could not delete a credit card when I needed to change payment modes. Your insurance options listed do not match the plans you accept.”

Rethink My Healthcare

Rethink My Healthcare

Rethink My Healthcare’s doctor network includes more than 200,000 clinicians offering virtual primary and urgent care, pediatrics, psychiatry, and therapy for both individuals and couples. Video chat and phone consultations are available 24/7, and you’re free to choose the doctor you’ll see or have one assigned to you based on the reason for your visit. Prescriptions can be sent to your local pharmacy. Rethink My Healthcare is ideal for couples counseling. This flexible service allows partners to schedule joint sessions even when in different places. The service’s network of certified counselors can help with many relationship problems, including communication difficulties, infidelity, and struggles with addiction.

Rethink My Healthcare operates on a monthly subscription model, with each plan offering 24/7 access to virtual primary care and no copay for behavioral health visits. The Direct Pay Healthcare Plan also comes with discounts for vision services and prescriptions. The company’s top-tier plan, Medical Costs Sharing, includes all the benefits of other plans plus maternity benefits. You can also pay a low one-time fee per virtual primary care consultation.

CostInsurance acceptedServices
One-time call: $24.99

Virtual Care Plan: $60/month

Direct Pay Healthcare Plan: $90/month

Medical Cost Sharing: $120/month
YesUrgent care
Primary care
Individual and couples counseling
Pediatrics
Psychiatry

Pros and Cons of Rethink My Healthcare

Pros:

  • Low rate for one-time consultations
  • Offers couples counseling
  • No copay for behavioral health

Cons:

  • Customer service during business hours only
  • May not be ideal for certain pre-existing conditions

Do customers like Rethink My Healthcare?

Customers are pleased with Rethink My Healthcare’s counseling services and say that virtual therapy. One user writes, “I was going through a breakup and just needed someone to talk to and help me get to a better place.” “In comparison to in-person therapy I’ve done I liked it better because I was at home.” Others noted problems with customer service. “Cut ties and left clients hanging. Zero response to emails calls or messages,” one says.

Maven Clinic

Maven Clinic

Maven is a comprehensive care provider for couples and individuals wishing to have children. It provides caring medical guidance for those considering fertility treatments, surrogacy, egg freezing, or adoption, and can help individuals and couples choose their best option. Maven physicians support people during pregnancy and beyond with around-the-clock virtual care.

Patients who are pumping while traveling for work can use Maven’s breast milk shipping service to safely ship milk wherever it needs to go. Counseling is available for parents struggling with postpartum depression, anxiety, and other common mental health issues. The company’s network includes 25 types of specialists, including OB-GYNs, sleep coaches, and lactation consultants.

Maven is intended to complement in-person maternity care, not replace it. Its services may be free if your employer offers Maven member sponsorship. You’ll pay a fixed rate per service without employer sponsorship as the company doesn’t accept insurance. Upon signing up, you’ll be paired with a dedicated Care Consultant who can help you find local specialists, provide referrals, and answer questions any time of day or night.

CostInsurance acceptedServices
Nurse practitioner, Midwife: $18/10-minute appointment

Doctor: $35/10-minute appointment

Nutritionist, Physical Therapist, Lactation Consultant, Doula: $25/20-minute appointment

Baby Sleep Coach, Wellness Coach, Back-to-Work Coach, Sex Coach: $50/30-minute appointment

Therapist: $70/40-minute appointment

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner: $90/30-minute appointment
NoFamily planning
Maternity care
Postpartum care
Pediatrics

Pros and Cons of Maven:

Pros:

  • Extensive family planning services
  • Free with employer sponsorship

Cons:

  • Insurance not accepted
  • No live support

Do customers like Maven Clinic?

Patients agree that Maven is an excellent supplement to in-person care. One user says, “I got a 7pm same-day appointment with a world class reproductive endocrinologist when I needed fertility advice after a miscarriage.” “It’s a life saver if you need a prescription between exams,” another writes. Some users express difficulty connecting with a doctor, though, “I really felt no sense of welcome from this physician, which is something I have never dealt with from the doctors I see face to face.”

MDLIVE

MDLIVE

Some of MDLIVE’s major services include urgent care, dermatology, talk therapy, and psychiatric assessments. Counselors in the MDLIVE network are on call 24/7 to help with a variety of behavioral health concerns. Counseling is available for children and adolescents. MDLIVE can get you an appointment with a doctor in a few days or less, much faster than in-person visits. Appointments for dermatology may be available even sooner. If you’re concerned about a strange rash, mole, or other skin condition, a dermatologist can provide a quick diagnosis with a photo or video chat.

MDLIVE is not a virtual primary care provider, so you can’t choose to see a doctor on a regular basis. Doctors can write prescriptions for most medications but are unable to order lab tests or interpret results. Services are provided through the iOS or Android app as well as most desktops equipped with a webcam and microphone. Deaf and hard of hearing patients can get care through MDLIVE’s HIPAA-compliant website chat feature.

CostInsurance acceptedServices
Medical care: $82 or less with insurance

Counseling: $108 or less with insurance

Psychiatry: $284/initial visit, $108/follow-up appointment or less with insurance

Dermatology: $75 or less with insurance
YesUrgent care
Dermatology
Therapy
Psychiatry

Pros and Cons of MDLIVE

Pros:

  • Clear pricing
  • Fast appointments for therapy/psychiatry
  • Live support

Cons:

  • No lab tests
  • Not for primary care

Do customers like MDLIVE?

Customers rave about the convenient appointments MDLIVE offers. As one user puts it, “I can’t remember the last time I had to go to my primary care doctor for a simple diagnosis because MDLIVE is that easy!” “I used their app and the doctor contacted me within 10 minutes. He promptly sent my prescription to my pharmacy,” says another. Some patients have issues locating records from their appointment, however. One remarks, “I do not have my chart and needed to refer back to it and couldn’t find it again.”

LiveHealth Online

LiveHealth Online

LiveHealth Online doctors are equipped to virtually treat a number of health issues, including colds, headaches, rashes, and tooth pain. One of the company’s biggest services is the treatment of allergies. With this service, you’ll meet with an allergy specialist who can evaluate symptoms, provide a diagnosis, and write prescriptions for medication to help you feel better. LiveHealth Online can address behavioral health conditions, too.

Psychiatrists provide screening assessments and medication management for certain mood disorders. You can also chat with a licensed psychologist about almost anything that’s troubling you. Typically, you can get a psychiatry or therapy appointment in four days or less.

LiveHealth Online’s pricing is upfront for each service, with no monthly subscription required. Many Blue Cross/Blue Shield insurance plans are accepted. If your insurance covers it, you might pay nothing for care. Your employers may also provide you with an optional Service Key, which you can use to unlock additional free services along with your virtual appointment.

CostInsurance acceptedServices
Medical: $59 (without insurance)

Allergy: $59 (without insurance)

Psychology: $80 with therapist, $95 with psychologist

Psychiatry: $175 for an initial evaluation, $75 for follow-ups
YesUrgent care
Allergy care
Therapy
Psychiatry

Pros and Cons of LiveHealth Online

Pros:

  • Upfront pricing
  • No subscription required
  • Specialized allergy care services

Cons:

  • Limited insurance accepted
  • No primary care service

Do customers like LiveHealth Online?

LiveHealth Online patients like that the service saves them unnecessary trips to in-person doctor appointments. “We have avoided so many trips to the doctor that would have been a complete waste of time,” one user writes. Another adds, “I was able to take a picture of my prescription bottle and they knew what to refill easily.” Billing issues are among the most common complaint. “They said they took my insurance and in the end they charged my credit card,” a former patient says.

Anytime Pediatrics

Anytime Pediatrics

Anytime Pediatrics is the only telemedicine practice that’s solely dedicated to health care for children, teenagers, and young adults up to 21 years of age. Unlike similar services, Anytime Pediatrics lets patients virtually meet with the doctor they’re already seeing in person. If your doctor isn’t using the service, you’ll be connected to another trusted pediatrician in the Anytime Pediatrics network. Appointment notes will be shared with your child’s regular pediatrician for thorough coordination of care. Physicians can evaluate patients for many non-emergency issues, including cold and allergy symptoms, nausea, cuts, and insect bites. They’ll write prescriptions when needed, as well as sick notes that can be used to excuse your child from school.

If your health insurance includes telehealth visits, you can use it to cover the cost of Anytime Pediatrics services. Consultations cost a flat rate for patients who don’t have insurance. Visits are conducted over video chat on the Anytime Pediatrics mobile app or through a webcam-enabled desktop computer. Patients who virtually see their regular doctor may be asked to schedule an in-person visit if further examination is required.

CostInsurance acceptedServices
Not mentionedYesNon-emergency pediatric care
Behavioral and mental health care

Pros and Cons of Anytime Pediatrics

Pros:

  • Virtual visits with child’s regular doctor
  • Most insurance accepted

Cons:

  • Consultations not available 24/7
  • Video chat only

Do customers like Anytime Pediatrics?

One satisfied parent writes, “I was able to get medical advice in the late hours of the night without having to drag my sick baby to the emergency room.” Another parent remarks, “Love that my kids can see their own pediatrician!” There are technical complaints about the mobile app, though. One user says, “It popped up with an error message saying something went wrong and I couldn’t do anything else but cancel my appointment request.”

Crossover

Crossover

Formerly Sherpaa, Crossover connects you with a doctor-led care team consisting of primary care providers, health coaches, therapists, and other specialists. Crossover is a care coordination service that takes the hassle out of arranging appointments, managing medications, and sharing test results across multiple providers. Some of the services you’ll get with Crossover include treatment for non-emergency issues, at-home physical therapy guidance, virtual counseling, and expert advice that can help you improve your overall well-being. A care coordinator works together with your Crossover team and keeps your records, visit summaries, and prescriptions organized in one easy-to-access place.

Crossover physicians can diagnose most issues online, but they’ll also provide referrals to a local specialist when necessary. The company has three subscription plans ranging from one month of service to a full year. Its basic plan is comparable to one urgent care visit and is designed for basic issues that don’t require extended treatment. Patients with ongoing concerns, such as mental health issues or diabetes management, may be best served by a longer-term plan. Because the company operates on a subscription model, insurance won’t cover the cost of care. You or your employer are responsible for paying membership fees.

CostInsurance acceptedServices
One month: $200

Three months: $500

Twelve months: $1,200
NoCare coordination
Primary care
Mental health care
Physical therapy
Health coaching

Pros and Cons of Crossover:

Pros:

  • Comprehensive care management packages
  • Clear prices
  • Ideal for patients who need several types of care

Cons:

  • Insurance not accepted
  • Support only during business hours

Do customers like Crossover?

Customers feel that with Crossover it’s fast and easy to see a doctor who’s equipped to handle their medical concerns. “Overall VERY FAST responses and resolution. Exceeded expectations,” one user says. Another adds, “Convenient and easy to use. I could talk to the provider from the safety of my home and send photos of my area of concern so she could see what I was asking.”

BetterHelp

BetterHelp

BetterHelp calls itself the world’s largest online counseling service, with therapy sessions offered for individuals aged 18 and older. You can schedule a virtual consultation on the day and time of your choosing or talk to a therapist via text message anytime with no appointment needed. Once you’ve signed up, the system automatically chooses the best-matching counselor based on your mental health concerns and other preferences. Other perks you’ll get include access to more than 150 digital worksheets and modules that can help supplement the counseling process, plus live weekly group seminars led by therapists who are experts in their field.

The BetterHelp network consists of accredited psychologists, social workers, licensed professional counselors, and licensed marriage and family therapists. Once you’ve signed up for an account, you’ll be connected with a matching therapist within 24-hours. BetterHelp services generally aren’t covered by insurance, but prices are comparable to what you’d pay for a traditional copay. BetterHelp isn’t suitable for people diagnosed with a severe mental illness or those who are required to attend therapy by a court order.

CostInsurance acceptedServices
$80-$100/week, billed monthlyNoIndividual counseling

Pros and Cons of BetterHelp.com

Pros:

  • Free mental health resource library
  • Flexible counseling options

Cons:

  • No live support
  • Doesn’t accept insurance

Do customers like BetterHealth.com?

A satisfied BetterHealth customer says, “…Their easy process and amazing counselors have helped me become my best self.” Another says, “Reasonably priced and they do a wonderful job at matching therapists.” A few users had problems connecting with their therapist; one notes, “After chatting with the assigned counselor she had no free slots for next two weeks only to discover she didn’t really have expertise in what I needed help with.”

HealthTap

Healthtap

HealthTap is a virtual primary care service that can be used to diagnose and treat a variety of basic medical conditions or get a referral to a specialist who can better help you. Doctors on HealthTap can order lab tests and send prescriptions to your home or local pharmacy. The app comes with a number of free features and perks, such as the HealthTap AI-powered symptom checker. Just enter your symptoms, and the checker suggests possible causes and tells you if a HealthTap doctor will be able to help you. Users get access to the doctor-answered question library and can submit an anonymous written question to receive a free response in 24-hours or less.

All of your appointment notes, prescriptions, lab records, and treatment plans are securely stored in the app, and HealthTap makes it easy to share information with other professionals. You can pay a flat fee per visit or sign up for the company’s monthly subscription plan, which includes unlimited visits at a lower rate. Insurance is accepted if you pay by the visit, but it can’t be used to cover the monthly plan subscription fee.

CostInsurance acceptedServices
Basic: $80 or copay

Prime: $30/visit, plus $15/month
YesPrimary care
Urgent care

Pros and Cons of HealthTap

Pros:

  • Free AI symptom checker
  • Can order lab tests

Cons:

  • No live support
  • No specialist services

Do customers like HealthTap?

Customers say that they’re satisfied with the level of care they received on HealthTap. “The doctors get back to you quickly and are knowledgeable,” says one user. Another customer agrees: “The consultation via video call is simple, personal and efficient. I picked up my prescription in 30 minutes.” Customers occasionally have problems with billing and receiving prescriptions. “The doctor prescribed medication but the pharmacy said they couldn’t fill it because the doctor is not active,” one says.

Hims

Hims

Hims is a virtual primary care service that provides treatment for hair loss, erectile dysfunction, anxiety, and other conditions commonly experienced by people assigned male at birth. To get started, you’ll provide your medical history and reason for visiting, then be matched to a doctor in your state who will evaluate symptoms and guide you toward a diagnosis.

Doctors on Hims can write prescriptions and send medications directly to your home, including topical hair regrowth solution, anti-acne cream, and treatments for several types of mood disorders. However, some drugs must be sent to your pharmacy. Hims also sells some non-prescription products that can supplement your care, such as herbal teas intended to promote relaxation and restful sleep. Hims offers live, anonymous mental health support groups led by licensed therapists that are free for anyone to join.

Hims primary care treats more than 30 basic medical problems, and you can get care over the computer or on the phone. Insurance does not cover Hims consultations, but it may pay some or all of the cost of your prescriptions, depending on the plan you have.

CostInsurance acceptedServices
$39/consultationNoMen’s health
Primary care

Pros and Cons of Hims

Pros:

  • Specific care for people assigned male at birth 
  • Home delivery for some prescription products

Cons:

  • No 24/7 care
  • Insurance not accepted

Do customers like Hims?

Many users are happy with the service and products Hims provides. One has this to say: “The whole experience has been positive, product cost was appropriate, the manner in which it was packaged was very convenient.” Another user adds, “The website is easy to navigate. I always have great customer service and it is very prompt.” Some customers have experienced issues with slow shipping, however. “Shipping can take a week or more, despite what the website may advertise,” one says.

JustAnswer

JustAnswer

With JustAnswer Medical, you can ask almost any health-related question and get a doctor’s response via chat within minutes. The service is fairly basic, but it’s a quick way to get expert advice about medications, illnesses, and tips for healthy living. A JustAnswer doctor listens to your symptoms and can advise you to seek in-person medical attention if needed. Its network includes doctors in many specialist fields, including pediatrics, gynecology, dermatology, and internal medicine. Physicians on JustAnswer are carefully vetted and must verify their credentials before accepting patient questions on the platform.

JustAnswer charges you a small fee to post a question, with an additional charge for each follow-up question. You can ask questions 24/7, but there might be a short wait time to get a response as the number of online doctors varies throughout the day. The service is not intended for primary care, urgent care, or diagnosis. Doctors cannot order lab tests or write prescriptions, although they can answer questions about drug interactions or medications you’re currently taking. Questions can be asked via text chat, with the option of a phone consultation for an extra fee.

CostInsurance acceptedServices
$16-$52 – monthly average cost of JustAnswer MedicalNoGeneral health questions

Pros and Cons of JustAnswer

Pros:

  • Pay by the question
  • No appointment necessary
  • Specialists available

Cons:

  • No primary care
  • No lab tests, prescriptions, or sick notes

Do customers like JustAnswer?

Customers appreciate the quick and helpful responses of doctors on JustAnswer. One user says, “The doctor was so encouraging to me. He helped me so much, and calmed my fears.” “Super helpful to anyone who may be in a panic about their situation,” another adds. Some customers complain about billing issues, though. “I paid the $5 for the question, but was completely unaware that they were also charging me an automatic $54 monthly fee on top of that,” says one.

PlushCare

PlushCare

PlushCare’s physician network treats a wide range of medical problems, including urgent issues, chronic conditions, and mental health concerns. The service is ideal for everyday primary care. PlushCare’s monthly subscription fee includes online talk therapy for depression, grief, life transitions, and relationship issues. Therapists coordinate with other doctors on your PlushCare team, who can prescribe medication or an in-person assessment if needed. Currently, the online therapy service is only available in seven states.

Aside from the monthly fee, PlushCare customers are charged a flat rate or copay per session. Most Blue Cross and Cigna plans are accepted. PlushCare offers a medication delivery program that allows you to have prescriptions mailed directly to your home. There is an additional monthly charge for the service which is not covered by insurance, so the program is open to cash pay customers only. PlushCare membership includes a prescription discount card that can save you up to 80% on medications at your local pharmacy.

CostInsurance acceptedServices
$99/visit (or copay), plus $14.99/month

Prescription delivery program: $99/month
YesEveryday care
Urgent care
Chronic condition management
Mental health care
Online therapy

Pros and Cons of PlushCare

Pros:

  • Prescriptions can be delivered to your door
  • Offers a discount for veterans and active military

Cons:

  • Therapy available in limited states
  • Subscription required

Do customers like PlushCare?

Customers of PlushCare say its doctors are compassionate and take the time to listen to their problems. “Personable, professional, and made sure I understood everything he was prescribing and why,” says one about their doctor. Another notes that her doctor “was conscientious and had a good bedside manner.” Some customers have experienced issues with customer service, however. One user remarks, “They did nothing to help me and have not actually responded to any of my emails.”

Sesame

Sesame

Sesame’s telemedicine platform is ideal for many urgent medical issues, including treatment of infections, fevers, nausea, and more. You’ll get care from a board-certified physician, dentist, or nurse practitioner, depending on symptoms and the reason for your visit. Unlike most other telemedicine providers, doctors on Sesame’s platform set their own prices, availability, and services they can offer. Sesame suggests doctors in your area and allows you to choose the one you’d like to see. Because your doctor is local, you’re able to visit them in person as well as virtually. If you like your doctor, you can see them again.

Doctors on Sesame can prescribe medicine and provide refills with a quick video consultation. They’ll also order lab tests and imaging services such as an MRI or CT scan. Because each doctor sets their own prices, you can’t use your insurance to pay for care. Rates are typically lowest for general urgent care and higher for certain specialty services, such as dermatology or mental health care.

CostInsurance acceptedServices
Video consultation: $25-$55

In-person visit: $37-$110
NoUrgent care
Mental health care
Dental
Dermatology
Imaging

Pros and Cons of Sesame

Pros:

  • Can see a doctor in person
  • Low prices
  • Choose your preferred doctor

Cons:

  • Live support during business hours only
  • Insurance not accepted

Do customers like Sesame?

Many customers rave about Sesame’s ease of use and low-prices. As one says, “I absolutely love how this is allowing me to see doctors at a lower cost. You pay up front and you are treated just like everyone else.” “Super simple and cheap, doctors were great,” another adds. One common complaint is scheduling issues. One customer writes, “Sesame needs to be better at checking appointment times.”

SteadyMD

SteadyMD

SteadyMD is a comprehensive primary care service focused on helping you build a great relationship with your online doctor. You’ll start by answering questions about medical concerns, health goals, and your overall lifestyle so SteadyMD can match you to a doctor who’s the perfect fit. If you follow a diet plan, such as Whole30 or gluten-free, you’ll be connected to a physician who supports your nutrition goals and specific health needs. Your doctor can help with chronic conditions and urgent problems, as well as preventative medicine, which may include mental health screenings, weight-loss counseling, and a smoking cessation treatment plan. Once you’re matched with a doctor, you can call, text, or video chat with them at any time.

SteadyMD offers two subscription plans for either individuals or families. Both plans require an annual membership commitment with service fees paid on a monthly basis. Most insurance won’t cover SteadyMD membership, but you can use your health savings account (HSA), flexible spending account (FSA), or health reimbursement account (HRA) to pay for care.

CostInsurance acceptedServices
Individual Plan: $99/month

Family Plan: Starting at $178/month
NoPrimary care
Mental health care
Chronic conditions
Men’s and women’s health
Preventative care
Labs and screenings

Pros and Cons of SteadyMD

Pros:

  • Personalized long-term care
  • Family plan
  • 24/7 customer support

Cons:

  • Annual subscription required
  • Insurance not accepted

Do customers like SteadyMD?

“He was precise, concise and went into great detail with all of my questions/concerns,” one customer says about their SteadyMD doctor. Another remarks, “She has been one of the most empathetic doctors I have ever gone to. Her bedside manner is second to none.” Some users, though, find customer support lacking. “When you try to get in touch with customer service, it takes days to get a response,” one says.

What to Look for in an Online Doctor

Services

Online doctors offer many services, including urgent and primary care, counseling, psychiatry, dermatology, and maternity care. Find one that provides the service you need.

Cost

Prices for online care vary considerably depending on the length of visit and services required. Typically, you’ll either pay a flat rate per consultation or a monthly subscription fee that includes multiple visits.

Insurance acceptance 

Many online doctors accept major health insurance plans. Insurance usually won’t cover telehealth subscriptions, although you may be able to pay the fees with your HSA or similar medical savings account. You should consider these factors before moving forward with a doctor.

Prescriptions

Most of the time, doctors can write prescriptions for various medications (including refills) if they feel it’s necessary. Prescriptions may be sent to your local pharmacy or directly to your home. Doctors can’t provide prescriptions for certain types of drugs, including narcotics and medications that are restricted by laws in your state. You should consider the medications you may need before picking a service.

Lab tests

In many cases, online physicians can order lab tests for blood work and imaging, including MRIs and x-rays. Whether a doctor can order tests depends on laws and regulations in your area, among other factors. You may need to visit a testing center in person, although some types of tests can be done at home.

What Does COVID-19 Mean for Online Doctors?

The demand for online medical care has exploded during the COVID-19 pandemic, largely due to doctors and patients who’d prefer to limit in-person contact when possible.

  • Patients who lack transportation or live a long distance from the nearest clinic have benefited greatly from the convenience telemedicine provides. In many cases, doctors are able to virtually meet with patients who couldn’t get a ride to the office. 
  • In July of 2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a report depicting impressive utilization trends for primary care telemedicine services throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly by Medicare beneficiaries.
  • In the D.C. metro area, Kaiser Permanente established a telemedicine health monitoring program to keep COVID-19 patients out of the hospital, which relieved some of the burdens on the overwhelmed health care system.

Sources

Learn more about the evolving landscape of telemedicine from the sources we used for this guide.