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The Best Online Doctor in 2022

Choosing the best online doctor for you is no easy task, with a growing set of options. We’ll give you all the details to help you decide.

Last Updated: Apr 10, 2022
best online doctor

A few years ago, having a video or phone call appointment with your doctor was the exception, not the rule. Now, telemedicine has become a part of many people’s everyday lives, and an increasing amount of our interactions with healthcare professionals occur via websites and apps. Live chats, video visits, and unlimited messaging are bringing primary care directly into our homes and, in the process, offering improved access to quality healthcare and lower costs over time.

Typically, we all want to find the best doctors in our area. So how do you find the best online doctor for high-quality telemedicine? What service provides the most value if you’re on a budget? What happens if you need specialty care? And how do online doctors fit into your overall healthcare plan?

We’ve tested over 20 companies and thoroughly compared their services. In this guide, we share our picks for the best online doctor in 2022 and give you the details to help you decide.

Summary of our 2022 recommendations for best online doctors

Plushcare was a close runner-up for overall best online doctors, while Amwell was a close runner-up in the category of best doctors for one-off, immediate care.

Why you should trust us

Over the past two decades, Innerbody Research has helped tens of millions of readers make more informed decisions about staying healthy and living healthier lifestyles.

Like all medical-related content on Innerbody, this guide is thoroughly vetted by one or more members of our Medical Review Board for accuracy. Additionally, we extensively analyze each health-related service we review. We evaluate the entire customer experience from signing up to using the product or service and then offer unbiased, marketing-jargon-free analysis based on the latest scientific evidence and medical standards.

Personal goals when choosing telemedicine services

What type of care are you looking for? There are nearly as many types of doctors as there are health concerns. You might be looking for:

  • Urgent care for the flu or a worrisome rash
  • Primary care for consultations that address chronic health concerns like high blood pressure or diabetes
  • Specialized care like help for migraines or allergies without going into an office
  • A prescribing doctor for routine medications like birth control or hair loss treatment

Telemedicine services vary and accommodate a growing spectrum of healthcare needs, from ongoing to sporadic and routine to intensive. It’s worth asking yourself what you’re looking to achieve with an online doctor. Gaining clarity about that will help you identify the best service and potentially save you money.

How online doctors fit into your healthcare

Even in the most robust relationships, online doctors complement in-person care rather than fully replace it. In many cases, you can nearly replace in-person care. However, there are some limits to what telemedicine can do for us.

  • Specific tests require you to go to a lab; no at-home replacement exists for a CT scan or other specialized examinations.
  • Video chat can accomplish a lot, but there is no remote substitute for in-person physical exams.
  • Online doctors have to be careful prescribing medication and can’t prescribe everything that an in-person doctor can.

However, keeping these common limitations in mind, you can replace a great deal of your in-person care needs with telemedicine and online doctor’s visits, saving yourself and the entire healthcare industry money. Telemedicine is rapidly expanding thanks to its improvement of the overall picture of healthcare.

You cannot obtain certain high-risk prescriptions due to the risk of abuse

For some medications, a doctor must perform an in-person exam to prescribe them to you. You can’t get the following treatments from an online doctor, whether your needs are legitimate or not:

  • Medical marijuana
  • Opiates and opioids (Vicodin, morphine, oxycodone, etc.)
  • Stimulants (Ritalin, Adderall, etc.)
  • Antipsychotic medication (Abilify, Latuda, Clozaril, etc.)
  • Sedatives and sleeping aids (benzodiazepines, barbiturates, etc.)

You’ll need to get a prescription from a doctor in person for these medications. Your online doctor can refer you to a local physician for these needs.

How online doctor visits work and what to expect

Getting started with online doctors follows a general pattern, though there are slight variations.

  1. Create your account. To enroll or enable the service, create an account and provide information about yourself, including payment and billing info. Note: One common denominator among all telemedicine companies in this guide is that all of your data is securely stored according to HIPAA guidelines to protect your privacy.

  2. Select the service you need. The top telemedicine companies in this guide make selection relatively easy, even though their service options may vary somewhat. Generally, the site guides you to the correct service, or you choose from a list of symptoms or conditions.

  3. Visit the online doctor. Some urgent care services don’t require an appointment and are available 24/7; you simply wait a short time – typically 10 minutes maximum, usually less – and see your doctor without any further ado. Some services require an appointment, so you choose a date and time from the doctor’s calendar.

Our favorite telemedicine companies let you complete a visit using a smartphone, tablet, or computer, though in some cases, video isn’t possible from all devices. Depending on the state where you reside, you may be required to use video.

Comparing telemedicine companies and how they differ

All of the top telemedicine services reviewed here ensure that their doctors meet high standards of care, quality, and experience. These doctors are all board-certified and trained to provide top-notch telemedical care. Our top choice overall, Lemonaid, insists that its doctors earn their degrees from a top 50 medical school.

While there are many commonalities with telehealth companies, there are also features that make each service unique, including:

  • Price and pay structure
  • Insurance coverage
  • User-friendliness
  • Scope of care
  • Generosity of doctors’ time

We’ve tested all of the major players — and honorary mentions go to Sherpaa, MeMD, LiveHealth Online, HealthSapiens, and Maven — but we’ll spotlight the group that impresses us most for reasons you’ll discover below.

We’ve broken down our favorites into four categories:

  • Women’s health focus
  • Men’s health focus
  • Comprehensive health care companies
  • Specialty care

Our comprehensive picks are companies that offer a wide range of services. Many include specialty care and mental health services in addition to primary care. If you’re looking for a company that caters to men’s or women’s health needs, we’ve got you covered here too. Lastly, the specialty care section looks at companies that focus on one particular condition, like allergies, migraine, and hair loss.

Best for women's health focus: Hers

Pros

  • Flexible and convenient appointments
  • Primary care covers a wide variety of conditions
  • Budget-friendly prices that are upfront

Cons

  • Not covered by insurance
  • Psychiatry services require a monthly subscription

Read our full Hers review here.

A subscription-based telehealth company, Hers offers women-focused healthcare that focuses on a variety of issues:

  • Skin care
  • Hair care
  • Sexual health
  • Primary care
  • Mental health
  • Supplements

Hers primary care is affordable and convenient. For $39 per visit, Hers connects you with certified providers in your state. These visits can help treat over 30 conditions, including:

  • Athlete’s foot
  • Body aches
  • Bronchitis
  • Bug bites (spider, bee, mosquito)
  • Congestion
  • Cough
  • Dull head pain
  • Eczema
  • Fatigue & tiredness
  • Fever
  • Forehead pressure
  • Hay fever
  • Hives
  • Itchy eyes
  • Jock itch
  • Nausea & vomiting
  • Neck tenderness
  • Pink eye
  • Rashes
  • Ringworm
  • Seasonal allergies
  • Shoulder tenderness
  • Sinus congestion
  • Sinus infection
  • Sore throat
  • UTI
  • Yeast infections

Hers also offers prescription refills for allergies and migraine. Treatments for acid reflux and stomach issues are coming soon.

If your provider prescribes medication for treatment, pick up the prescription from a local pharmacy. Health insurance won’t cover the cost of your primary care visit, but you can use insurance to lower the cost of your prescription if your plan covers the medication.

To set up an appointment with Hers, follow these steps:

  1. Answer medical history questions, including what symptoms you currently have.

  2. Wait for Hers to connect you with a medical provider. You’ll hear from your provider within 24 hours.

  3. Conduct your appointment via video chat, phone call, or through the Hers online messaging system.

In addition to primary care, Hers also offers:

  • One-on-one talk therapy sessions
  • Psychiatric evaluation with potential prescription
  • Online support groups

Therapy appointments are pay-as-you-go and cost $99 per session. Telepsychiatry services require an $85/month subscription that covers medication delivery and follow-up appointments. Support groups are free and anonymous and cover various issues like sleep problems, mindfulness, and relationships.

Best for men's health focus: Hims

Pros

  • Fast, convenient online appointments
  • Get matched with a provider within 24 hours
  • Upfront, cost-effective pricing

Cons

  • Not covered by insurance, HSA, FSA
  • Clunky live chat interface

To learn more, you can always head over to our full Hims review.

Hims is a men’s telehealth company that offers a wide range of services, including hair care, skin care, and sexual health. Currently, they provide primary care telemedicine consultations for $39 per visit, individual therapy sessions for $99 per visit, and a telepsychiatry subscription for $85 per month, including prescriptions.

Hims primary care doctors can provide a variety of services:

  • Dermatology
  • Allergies
  • Common infections
  • Cold & flu care
  • Headaches
  • Digestive issues

Your Hims provider may also be able to refill existing prescriptions.

It’s pretty easy to get started and to use the Hims interface. Our testers did not have to wait long to access care or be connected with a doctor.

  1. Answer a questionnaire about your health concerns.

  2. Hims connects you with a doctor within 24 hours.

  3. Using live chat, you and your provider review your concerns and discuss treatment options, including prescriptions.

  4. Your medication can be delivered if there is a participating Hims pharmacy nearby. Otherwise, your provider sends the prescription to your local pharmacy.

Insurance, HSA, and FSA do not cover Hims primary care visits. For prescriptions, you can provide your insurance card to the pharmacy to see if the prescription cost is covered or reduced.

With Hims, you don’t schedule an appointment with a provider. Instead, you exchange chat messages with your doctor at your convenience. You’ll receive an email or a text when you have a new message from your doctor. Log in to the Hims site or app to read and respond.

We did find a few issues with the experience. The chat interface can seem a bit impersonal. You don’t video chat with your provider – you simply read messages from them. But for those with busy schedules or who prefer text to video, the convenience of Hims interface is undeniable.

The chat interface doesn’t reload as you might expect. Instead, you click the link in your email or text to read the next message from your provider, which might not seem like the most efficient method of communication. Either way, Hims offers a convenient and cost-effective way to meet healthcare needs, even with a few hiccups.

Comprehensive health care companies

Best for most people (and a good budget choice too): Lemonaid

Pros

  • Competitive pricing that is lower than typical copays for many services
  • Treats a wide range of conditions, comparable to more expensive competitors
  • Intuitive and user-friendly site and app
  • Partner pharmacies facilitate home delivery of prescriptions if desired

Cons

  • Insurance not accepted for doctor consultations

You can learn more by checking out our full Lemonaid review.

Lemonaid is a substantial value with enough coverage and flexibility to make it our top choice for the best online doctor in 2022. No telemedicine service is perfect, but Lemonaid compensates for its disadvantages better than any other service at this time.

For instance, Lemonaid doesn’t accept insurance for doctor consultations. But, the price of most consultations is less than the standard $30 insurance copay. If insurance covers your medication, you can also instruct Lemonaid to send prescriptions to a local pharmacy. Then, use your insurance to pay for the medicine.

Telemedicine services

Lemonaid’s online doctors can treat various health concerns, including:

  • Primary care
  • Dermatology and hair health
  • Sexual health
  • Women’s and men’s health
  • Mental health
  • Health testing

Through Lemonaid, you have access to doctors who address the following common chronic or acute concerns, among others:

  • Acid reflux
  • Acne
  • Anxiety
  • Asthma
  • Birth control
  • Cold sores
  • Cold
  • COVID-19
  • Dark spots
  • Depression
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Flu
  • Genital herpes
  • Hair loss
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Hot flashes
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Migraine
  • Premature ejaculation
  • General primary care
  • Sinus infection
  • Smoking cessation
  • Urgent care
  • UTI

Pricing and pay structure

Most consultations with a doctor cost $25. There are exceptions — such as mental health care for anxiety or depression — in which cases there is a monthly flat fee that covers ongoing consultations and care. The monthly flat fee for these mental health telemedicine services starts at $95/month.

Lemonaid does not accept insurance. Consultation fees of $25 are comparable or less than standard copays via the traditional in-office doctor’s visit. This means you pay less for more convenient and timely care delivered from the comfort of your own home.

How to get your prescriptions

Lemonaid gives you a choice:

  • Use their network of pharmacies to receive your prescriptions in the mail.
  • Tell Lemonaid that you want your prescriptions filled at your local pharmacy.

Having medications delivered to your doorstep is an unparalleled convenience, eliminating all trips to the pharmacy and providing a high level of privacy at the same time. But your choice may depend on whether your insurance (if you have insurance) covers the prescribed medication. If it does, then filling the prescription at your local pharmacy allows you to apply your insurance to cover some or all of the medication cost.

The ability to make this kind of decision for yourself is very user-friendly. Combined with the low price of consultations, Lemonaid’s convenient telemedicine services for many people can truly cost much less than the traditional healthcare route.

Close runner-up: Plushcare

Pros

  • Accepts many major insurance providers
  • 30-day free trial is useful for telemedicine first-timers
  • Veterans and active-duty military pay only $49 per visit
  • Membership is relatively low-cost
  • You can have appointments via computer or smartphone

Cons

  • Appointment required
  • Monthly membership fees will add up to $180 per year and is essential to make the most of the service

Plushcare is a close runner-up for best in class. Their services are more expensive, and their membership (technically optional but kind of essential) adds a monthly fee on top. However, Plushcare offers a 30-day free trial period, an excellent feature that helps Plushcare stand out from the pack in consideration for their prospective patients.

Telemedicine services

Plushcare addresses both chronic (ongoing) and urgent health concerns.

Chronic concerns include the following:

  • Acne
  • Anxiety
  • Asthma
  • Back pain
  • Birth control
  • Depression
  • Diabetes (type II)
  • Erectile dysfunction (ED)
  • Hair loss
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • High cholesterol
  • HIV PrEP
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Seizures

Acute (urgent) health issues:

  • Allergies
  • Bronchitis
  • Cellulitis
  • Cold
  • Dental infection
  • Diarrhea
  • Ear pain
  • Flu
  • Gout
  • Hair loss
  • Headache
  • Male urethritis
  • Migraine
  • Nausea
  • PEP
  • Pink eye
  • Pneumonia
  • Rash
  • Sinus infection
  • Strep/sore throat
  • Swimmer’s ear
  • Tonsillitis
  • UTI
  • Vaginitis
  • Yeast infection
  • Vertigo

NOTE: If you have a health emergency, call 911.

Pricing and pay structure

With Plushcare, you either:

  • Pay per visit ($99)
  • Use your insurance and pay a copay

In terms of insurance, Plushcare accepts most major providers, including Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield of California, Cigna, Humana, UnitedHealthcare, and others.

There is a monthly membership fee of $14.99 if you choose to become a member. Becoming a member is not necessary but is advisable if you use Plushcare.

If you’re a non-member, you:

  • have to call to schedule appointments
  • can’t take advantage of app features
  • can’t book same-day appointments
  • can’t utilize ongoing, unlimited messaging with your healthcare team

If you need lab tests, your doctor will order them for a nearby lab. Plushcare partners with LabCorp to deliver high-quality lab testing.

Best if money is no object: SteadyMD

Pros

  • Strong preventative care
  • Unparalleled attention from your dedicated doctor
  • Personalized care molded to suit your lifestyle
  • Great for people who may need or want frequent medical attention
  • Excellent value compared to traditional concierge healthcare

Cons

  • Expensive – unaffordable for many

Learn more by visiting our full SteadyMD review.

SteadyMD aims to provide remote concierge healthcare service and does an incredible job, taking primary care to another level. The amount of personal attention that you can receive from your dedicated, long-term physician at SteadyMD will startle most people; it is on par with — or better than — the most attentive, traditional primary care many of us have ever received.

Your doctor’s visit with SteadyMD can last an hour or longer if needed — compared to around 10-15 minutes in a traditional doctor’s office. You have unlimited access to call, text, or video chat with your doctor, and your doctor reaches out to you for check-ins. SteadyMD gathers all of your medical records to ensure the care they provide is on the firmest possible footing. And SteadyMD doctors can give this amount of attention because they see fewer patients per doctor than in a typical healthcare setting.

Pricing and pay structure

So what is the catch? Why isn’t SteadyMD our top pick overall? It boils down to the price tag, which is just too high for many people to afford.

SteadyMD doesn’t accept — and isn’t a replacement for — health insurance, and yet their pay structure is a monthly membership fee of $99 per person at minimum. Some of their programs cost more.

Concierge healthcare is the best lens through which to understand SteadyMD. Compared to traditional concierge healthcare, SteadyMD is a true bargain. The word “concierge” conjures images of luxury VIP service from a dedicated professional, above and beyond what you would typically expect. Concierge healthcare applies that same level of attention in the context of medicine, transforming your relationship with your doctor and the level of care you receive.

But that level of comfort and care comes with a high price tag. SteadyMD is the best for those who can afford the high cost, which isn’t everyone. But we do know that developing a meaningful relationship with a primary care doctor can result in excellent long-term healthcare.

Comprehensive and preventative healthcare could save many of us from astronomical costs of certain severe medical conditions later in life. In that case, the subscription price of SteadyMD is probably a great value over time. But, that doesn’t help many people afford the cost now. For those who can afford the monthly membership on top of their regular insurance expenses (to cover prescriptions, testing, and specialist care), SteadyMD is a great service that adds enormous convenience to your life while giving you unparalleled access to top-notch healthcare.

Best for one-off, immediate care: Teladoc

Pros

  • Accepts most major insurance, as well as HSA and FSA
  • Online visits are very generous in length, basically as long as you need
  • No appointment necessary
  • Wait times were shorter than average, in our experience

Cons

  • Visits cost more than high-quality competitors unless you have decent insurance or pay an annual membership fee

Read our full Teladoc review here.

Teladoc serves the entire U.S. with pay-per-visit primary care, dermatology consultations, talk therapy, and psychiatric care. It functions best as a “there-when-you-need-it” immediate care service rather than a personalized, comprehensive care experience.

Once you create your account, you pay per service at rates that depend on the nature of the visit. There are no appointments necessary. If a doctor prescribes medication, pick it up at your local pharmacy.

We liked that you can use your computer or the mobile app for video visits, which isn’t always the case. Sessions with a doctor are lengthy and not at all rushed. The sessions worked well from any device in our testing, including a computer, smartphone, and tablet.

How long are Teladoc wait times?

Our testers waited between five and minutes for their visit – just slightly longer than competitors.

Telemedicine services and pricing

Visits fall under certain broad categories:

  • Everyday care: general, non-emergency primary care health concerns
  • Dermatology: skin and hair concerns
  • Mental health: online therapy or psychiatric care

Psychiatric care is the costlier mental health option because you speak with a doctor to prescribe medication.

Teladoc accepts most major insurance as well as HSA and FSA payments. Teladoc also works with some employers to provide telemedicine to employees.

If you are uninsured or your plan isn’t accepted, you will pay:

  • $75 per everyday care visit
  • $95 per dermatology visit
  • $99 or more per mental health visit

To lower visit costs, you can opt to pay an annual membership fee of $29.99 for individuals or $49.99 for families. Visit costs are also lower if you have insurance coverage or an accepted employer health plan. Visit prices drop to:

  • $45 or lower for everyday care visits
  • $75 or lower for dermatology visits
  • $99 maximum for mental health visits

Runner-up for one-off, immediate care: Amwell

Pros

  • Accepts most major insurance
  • No appointments necessary
  • No membership fees at all

Cons

  • Doctors set visit prices in some cases
  • Uninsured or underinsured will pay more than with some competitors
  • Doctor’s visits are relatively brief

Formerly known as American Well, Amwell illustrates telemedicine’s immense and rapid growth as its public trading debut came in September 2020 with a $742 million IPO. Amwell has also made recent inroads into women’s specialty care.

At this time, the company isn’t poised to replace a deeper relationship with your primary care physician but instead is geared toward providing intermittent and immediate care, similar to Teladoc.

  • There are no appointments necessary with Amwell.
  • Amwell isn’t a membership service.
  • Amwell accepts most major insurance — Aetna, UnitedHealthcare, Cigna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and many others.

On average, our Amwell visits lasted close to ten minutes, and the longest visit was 13 minutes.

Our testers were not impressed by the length of Amwell’s appointments or the attention given by doctors, especially when compared with services from Teladoc. Teladoc’s visits felt limitless with enough time to delve deeply into an issue, while Amwell felt more rushed and abrupt.

For straightforward health concerns, Amwell will likely satisfy. But if you are covered by a major insurer and looking for one-off, convenient doctor support between your routine primary care visits, Teladoc right now wins for its more generous doctor service.

Pricing and pay structure

Amwell’s structure is pay-per-visit, and pricing is very competitive:

  • $69 for general immediate care, cardiology, and menopause support
  • $49 for dermatology
  • $199 for the first psychiatric visit ($95 for each follow-up visit)
  • $59-$99 for online therapy
  • $65 for nutritional counseling
  • $69-$99 for pediatric care

Note that pricing isn’t so fixed; Amwell’s doctors in a few care areas can set their pricing, removing a little predictability for the patient.

Best for super-busy people: Doctor on Demand

Pros

  • Flexibility to do “walk-in” visits or schedule appointments
  • High quality of medical care
  • Accepts most major insurance
  • No membership or subscription fees

Cons

  • Visit duration wasn’t the most generous
  • If uninsured, pricing isn’t as affordable as competition

In our testing and final assessment, Doctor on Demand has many benefits and a few drawbacks.

  • The services of this company are high in quality — it is a solid choice all-around.
  • It is not more affordable than competitors, though Doctor on Demand accepts major insurance such as Aetna, Humana, Cigna, and UnitedHealthcare.
  • Doctor on Demand is not more comprehensive in its services or more generous with doctors’ time during visits compared to competitors. On average, our testers’ visits were about 15 minutes. However, the visits were comprehensive and efficient.

We choose Doctor on Demand for the busiest (insured) people because the company offers you the flexibility to decide whether to have a visit right away without an appointment or schedule a fixed appointment and avoid the wait. While having an appointment is helpful for people with hectic schedules, some customers prefer to be seen by a doctor without having to schedule it.

To be clear, none of the competitors recommended in this guide required long wait times due to a lack of appointments. But 5-10 minutes is still a wait time. If you have insurance, we recommend Doctor on Demand as a solid telemedicine solution that saves you time.

Telemedicine services

Doctor on Demand provides telemedicine in the following areas:

  • Urgent care (allergy, cold/flu, migraine, UTI, etc.)
  • Preventative care (family medicine, smoking cessation, weight management, heart health management, etc.)
  • Behavioral health care (therapy as well as psychiatric care for anxiety, depression, and more)
  • Chronic care (for health conditions like hypertension, diabetes, asthma, and the complications associated with them)

Pricing and pay structure

There is no membership; Doctor on Demand is a pay-per-service company like other competitors. What you pay will be much more reasonable with insurance than without it.

Pricing without insurance:

  • $75 for primary care – chronic, urgent, or preventative
  • $79 for behavioral therapy
  • $229 for the first visit with a psychiatrist

Tied for best budget pick: HeyDoctor

Pros

  • Quick, no-frills attention for many prescriptions
  • Most services are cheaper than other affordable options
  • Services are clear and pricing transparent

Cons

  • Not available nationwide
  • You get what you pay for: less attention
  • HSA, FSA, and insurance are not accepted

You can learn more about the company in our full HeyDoctor review.

There are three reasons why HeyDoctor shares with Lemonaid the distinction of being our top pick for the tightest budgets:

  • Not all its services are the cheapest, but many are slightly more affordable than the lowest prices elsewhere (including even Lemonaid).
  • HeyDoctor can’t serve everybody across the nation — it’s only available in certain states, as opposed to Lemonaid, which is available nationwide.
  • HeyDoctor’s medical attention is more streamlined and compact.

HeyDoctor is a solid choice if you have limited resources to obtain medical attention and aren’t looking for a dedicated, ongoing primary care relationship. HeyDoctor is where you can go if you have a strong feeling you know what you need, and you’re looking for immediate attention to achieve things like health testing and prescriptions.

Telemedicine services and pricing

HeyDoctor provides pay-per-service telemedicine visits in the following broad areas:

  • Family planning and birth control
  • Screening and testing services
  • Primary care treatments and refills
  • Addiction support

The whole process with HeyDoctor is streamlined, making your interaction with doctors quite limited compared to other companies. Depending on the service you seek and the health information you provide, you may engage in a video call with a doctor. However, the doctor may review your information and determine the proper course of action and prescribe treatment after just a brief interaction in text messaging.

If the doctor prescribes testing or medication, you will be able to pick up your prescription at a local pharmacy or use a delivery service like GoGoMeds to deliver it to your door. For testing, HeyDoctor partners with reputable, local labs, which you visit to have the test administered.

The company avoids membership fees and does not accept insurance but keeps prices low enough that you likely won’t care – if you’re lucky enough to live in an area where you can access it.

Prices are not a flat rate for all services but instead vary depending on the nature of the healthcare you receive. Most services, however, cost in the ballpark of $20-$30. Our testers appreciated how HeyDoctor’s “menu” of doctor services is clear and transparent.

This service replaces only a small aspect of your greater healthcare picture. But it replaces those specific kinds of traditional medical attention with cheap and more convenient telemedicine, where available.

Best for combined online and in-person care: Sesame Care

Pros

  • No subscription or membership required
  • Upfront pricing on all appointments and medications
  • Schedule a telehealth or in-person appointment

Cons

  • Wait time: up to 24 hours to schedule an in-person appointment
  • Not covered by insurance

For more, visit our full review of Sesame Care.

Sesame Care is a pay-per-visit telehealth company that offers upfront pricing. One unique feature of Sesame is that customers can schedule both video and in-person appointments. Providers set their own prices, and you don’t need a membership or subscription to use Sesame.

Sesame provides treatment in over 40 areas, including:

  • Urgent care
  • Prescriptions
  • Dermatology
  • Dentistry
  • Mental health
  • Skin care
  • Imaging and labs
  • Pediatrics
  • Women’s health
  • Men’s health
  • Weight management

Because Sesame’s providers set visit costs, prices per appointment vary. General medical telehealth visits cost anywhere from $25-$99. You will always know the cost of an appointment before booking it. In general, Sesame saves patients up to 60% on healthcare costs.

Getting started with Sesame requires just a few easy steps:

  1. Choose your type of care and provider. Select the type of treatment you need, and Sesame provides a list of telehealth and in-person doctors available. Look through the provider profiles and select a provider.

  2. Select either an online or in-person visit. Choose a date and time from the provider’s calendar to schedule an online appointment. With in-person appointments, provide your availability and wait up to 24 hours for an appointment confirmation.

  3. Pay for your appointment using either a credit or debit card.

Sesame’s prescription service – SesameRX – offers some prescriptions for as low as $5, many with free delivery. SesameRX provides upfront pricing on 30-day supplies of medications.

Other Speciality Care

Best for Migraines: Cove

Pros

  • Treatments for both migraine relief and prevention
  • Wide array of treatment options
  • Ongoing medication delivery and access to your doctor
  • Customized treatments based on your history and symptoms

Cons

  • Not covered by insurance
  • Best for those who experience frequent migraines – not for infrequent sufferers

Cove specializes in helping people with migraine and is designed for those who suffer from acute or chronic migraine. It is a cost-effective way for patients to access a specialist, even if their insurance doesn’t cover it.

They offer a variety of treatment options:

  • Medications for pain and nausea
  • Preventive medicines that prevent or reduce the severity of migraine
  • Dietary supplements that combat migraine

A Cove subscription costs only $4 per month. This includes your initial specialist consultation and unlimited messaging with your doctor. Most medications and treatments cost between $6 and $35 per month. Some of your prescriptions may be fully covered or have a drastically reduced price if you have insurance. All medications and supplements are delivered by mail.

To get started with Cove, follow just a few easy steps:

  1. Take a short quiz. The quiz asks questions about how migraine impacts your life and helps you set up your account with Cove. Once you’ve finished the quiz, you’re prompted to start your $4 per month subscription.

  2. Complete a consultation. Your initial consultation covers your symptoms, family history, and migraine triggers. Provide answers to all of the questions provided. A specialist reviews your responses and contacts you within 48 hours with a treatment plan.

  3. Approve plan and begin treatment. Look over your doctor’s treatment plan and accept it. You can also make adjustments by adding supplements to your order. Shipping is $3 for each order, which you receive in 3-5 days.

  4. Make adjustments. Part of your subscription is unlimited messaging with your doctor. If the medication isn’t working or you have side effects, contact your doctor about making adjustments to your treatment plan.

Cove offers a wide range of medications and supplements to help treat migraine. Its acute medications include:

  • Triptans
  • NSAIDs
  • Gepants
  • Anti-nausea medication

For migraine prevention, Cove offers:

  • Monoclonal antibody CGRP antagonist
  • Beta-blockers
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Antidepressants

Supplements include magnesium, CoQ10, and riboflavin. Cove also offers Cove Beam, a blend of these three supplements with added iron. Note: you can purchase supplements without a subscription or consultation.

For more details, visit our full Cove review.

Best for Allergies: Picnic

Pros

  • Convenient auto-refill and delivery medication service
  • Offers both OTC, prescription, and natural treatment options
  • Order a 1-month or 3-month supply of medicine
  • Accepts HSA and FSA funds

Cons

  • Only treats hay fever — not all forms of allergies
  • Not covered by insurance

Read our full review of Picnic here.

Picnic offers relief from allergic rhinitis, commonly known as hay fever. The company provides a subscription and delivery service with customized allergy treatments that can include:

  • Antihistamines
  • Nasal sprays
  • Eye drops
  • Steroid treatments
  • Natural remedies

These treatments can be over-the-counter as well as prescription-strength medications. If you require a prescription, consult with a licensed physician or allergist to help personalize your treatment plan.

Treatments and medications range in price from $5-$58 per month. Picnic ships your medications each month or every three months if you’d prefer a longer supply. Ordering 3-month supplies can also help you save money instead of ordering each month. You pay $5 per year for a yearly consultation with a doctor with a subscription.

To get started with Picnic, complete the following steps:

  1. Click the “Take the Quiz” link and answer a brief questionnaire about your allergy symptoms, their severity, seasonal concerns, and treatment options. Review the recommended treatments and either checkout or browse Picnic’s complete product list.

  2. Shop all of Picnic’s products if there are others you’d like to purchase. Prescription medications require a brief consultation with a doctor from Picnic’s Care Team.

  3. If Picnic recommends a prescription medication, complete a 10-minute online consultation to complete your order.

  4. Purchase products using a credit card, debit card, or HSA/FSA account. Agree to the subscription to get your medications auto-shipped every 1-3 months. Cancel or modify your subscription at any time via customer support.

Picnic provides 11 OTC and prescription allergy treatments:

  • Desloratadine (generic Clarinex)
  • Fexofenadine (generic Allegra)
  • Diphenhydramine (generic Benadryl Allergy)
  • Loratadine (generic Claritin)
  • Cetirizine (generic Zyrtec)
  • Fluticasone (generic Flonase)
  • Azelastine nasal spray (generic Astelin)
  • Mometasone (generic Nasonex)
  • Azelastine eye drops (generic Optivar)
  • Honey-lemon throat lozenges
  • Saline nasal spray

Best for Hair Loss: Keeps

Pros

  • Free initial consultation with Keeps doctor
  • Convenient, cost-effective auto-refill and shipping of medications and products
  • Clinically-tested products known to stop hair loss and promote hair growth

Cons

  • Not covered by insurance or FSA/HSA
  • Only effective against male pattern baldness

Read our full review of Keeps here.

Keeps offers hair and scalp care products to treat hair loss, including FDA-approved prescriptions. Androgenic alopecia, better known as male pattern hair loss, can be prevented and reversed using a combination of certain products that Keeps offers:

  • Topical minoxidil (foam or solution)
  • Oral finasteride (generic Propecia®)
  • Ketoconazole 2% shampoo
  • Thickening shampoo and conditioner

Prices of products range from $11-120 for a 3-month supply, depending on your treatment plan. Some medications require a prescription, which means you’ll consult with a Keeps doctor before proceeding with treatment. Your initial consultation is free, and any follow-up consultations cost only $5.

To get started with Keeps, follow a few easy steps:

  1. Choose a plan depending on your hair loss situation. This could include treatment for receding hairline, hair loss on top, thinning hair, severe hair loss, etc. If you’re unsure about what plan to choose, select “Let the Doctor Decide.”

  2. Complete your profile, including a survey and personal info. The survey asks about your family history, hair loss timeline, lifestyle, allergies, and pre-existing conditions. Finish the questionnaire by sending pictures of your hairline and top of your head.

  3. Wait up to 24 hours for a doctor to review your responses. Your doctor responds with a treatment plan and prescription, if necessary. Approve your plan and wait for your medication to arrive.

Finasteride and minoxidil have been proven, in clinical trials, to stop hair loss in the majority of participants. The treatment reversed hair loss for about half, resulting in new hair growth. In addition, Keeps’ shampoos and conditioner protect your scalp while strengthening and nourishing your hair.

What criteria do we use to evaluate home health products and services?

At Innerbody research, we customize our evaluation criteria depending on the type and nature of the health product or service. When assessing online doctors, we look at five essential criteria.

Quality: Just because a healthcare appointment is online does not mean you should have to sacrifice quality. Telehealth services should provide high-quality care with board-certified, experienced professionals. Appointments should be easy to schedule and complete, and prescriptions should be as accessible and affordable as possible. At the end of the day, you should feel cared for by your online doctor in the same way you feel cared for by a face-to-face doctor.

Cost: Since many telehealth services are not covered by insurance, companies must keep costs low. Making economical choices when it comes to healthcare keeps customers from being bogged down by medical debt. Prices should be budget-friendly and upfront. If a subscription is required, we think you should have the option to cancel at any time.

Speed: When you contact a company for medical care, you probably want relief from your symptoms right away. When we evaluate telehealth companies, we consider speed because no one likes long wait times when it comes to getting well. Telehealth companies should be as efficient as possible when scheduling appointments, devising treatment plans, and shipping medications.

Effectiveness: You want to know that the treatment plan or medication your provider suggests will work. You also want to know that you can reach out to your provider to discuss alterations to that plan or side effects from that medication. Effectiveness goes beyond a salve for symptoms — it also means how effective the company is at treating you as a person with a complex history and diverse set of needs. We want the companies we recommend to do just that.

User-friendliness: It doesn’t matter how effective a treatment plan is if the site and app used to access it are hard to navigate. Telehealth companies should pride themselves on creating technologies that are as logical and efficient as possible. This helps you get the service you need without having to think too hard about which button to click next. Also, you should easily be able to contact customer support when technical issues do arise.