Over the course of 2020, people turned to telemedicine at higher rates than at any time in the past.
Between September 2019 and September 2020, the number of people who filed insurance claims for telemedicine increased by 2,980%. Though the global pandemic, along with the government’s relaxation of telemedicine regulations, spurred this growth, it’s likely that many will continue to use convenient remote services in 2021 and beyond.
The biggest players in the field offer a wide range of health services. All make it easy for people to access care. Teledoc sits in the number-one spot as the top telemedicine site, but the other 14 on this list hold their own.
Take a look at the top 15 telemedicine sites for 2021 and what each has to offer.
Teladoc (www.teladoc.com) has been around since 2002, so it’s had plenty of time to iron out the kinks in delivering remote healthcare. It offers primary care services, general care for adults and children, dermatology and mental health services. Teladoc provides wellness help in nutrition, sexual health, neck and back care and tobacco cessation. If patients just want some advice, the specialists can offer expert guidance on any medical concerns. The company makes it easy to set up an account and connect with the right healthcare provider.
Teladoc operates in all 50 states. Patients can access services using a phone app or on the web. Patients can expect quick service — usually within 20 minutes — and can talk to the provider via phone or video conferencing. A Teladoc visit cost is $0-$75, depending on individual insurance coverage. It’s “open” 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This level of care and accessibility is what makes Teladoc the top telemedicine site for 2021.
iCliniq (www.icliniq.com) lists 101 specialty areas on their site, ranging from rheumatology to yoga. It has over 35,000 doctors in their network and serves patients from all over the world. Its healthcare professionals are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The basic service lets patients chat with the provider for a consultation using an iPhone or Android app. For an extra fee, people can talk to a physician on the phone, a popular choice for those seeking medical second opinions and advice.
The company also offers a video chat option for those who prefer face-to-face interaction. iClinic indicates that it utilizes technology that is encrypted end-to-end, allowing for a secure connection. The technology is compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. A basic text consultation is $20, and a phone or video call is $30.
PlushCare (www.plushcare.com) prides itself on offering personalized, high-quality healthcare services from providers who have more than 15 years of experience in their fields. It offers urgent medical care for issues such as the flu, bacterial infections and urinary tract infections. It also offers support for chronic conditions that require ongoing care, mental health and online therapy services, and online prescriptions.
Patients can book an appointment online, and then use PlushCare’s smartphone app to talk to a provider via video call. The company also offers unlimited texting for patients, allowing them to text their healthcare team whenever they have a question or concern. To fill prescriptions, it sends them to a local pharmacy. To use the services, patients either pay their copay or $99.
(www.healthtap.com) Convenience is one of the biggest benefits of telemedicine, and the top telemedicine sites all make it easy for patients to access care at any time and on any day of the week. HealthTap follows suit, offering access using the web or a smartphone. This company is global, so patients can also get help wherever they are located. It has more than 72,000 doctors who provide both urgent and primary care. HealthTap incorporates artificial intelligence in a service that allows patients to input their symptoms and receive AI advice.
This company lets patients determine the level of service they want. For a single, urgent care visit, the cost is $80 per visit or copay. Patients who want more regular care can opt for the $180 per year plus $30 per visit with a HealthTap Prime membership. The annual membership provides unlimited access to telehealth services.
The physicians at MDlive (www.mdlive.com) have an average of 15 years of experience in their fields. They can treat more than 80 common conditions. The company provides services in urgent care, behavioral health and dermatology. Patients can get help for conditions such as:
- Urinary tract infections
- Cold and flu
- Anxiety and depression
- Acne and rosacea
Patients can access their doctor via an app on the iPhone or Android from anywhere in the United States. Urgent care visits cost between $0 and $82, depending on what type of insurance the individual has. Behavioral health therapy runs from $0 to $108, again, depending on insurance. Dermatology services range from $0 to $95.
(www.memd.net) Behavioral health, including mental health, services are one of the areas that has seen the greatest growth in telehealth, along with chronic illnesses. MeMD connects patients seeking talk therapy, teen therapy and psychiatric therapy services within 24 hours. It offers additional support through prescriptions and lab result analysis. In addition to mental health services, MeMD physicians treat urgent care issues and men’s and women’s health concerns.
Patients access services using their smartphones or computers. They request a visit and indicate whether they would prefer to speak with their doctor via audio or video call. Prescriptions are sent to the local pharmacy. Urgent care visits start at $67 and talk therapy sessions are $85 each. Psychiatry services range from $99 to $229 per session. With insurance, the cost of a visit could be as low as $0.
7. LiveHealth Online
LiveHealth Online (www.livehealthonline.com) provides telemedicine services for common urgent care concerns such as cold and flu, rashes or diarrhea. It also has doctors who work with people with allergies to alleviate their symptoms. As with other sites in this list, this company offers behavioral and mental health services. Patients can meet with a therapist or psychologist for stress, depression, grief and other issues. Psychiatrists are available for those who have disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder, clinical depression, bipolar disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder.
LiveHealth Online has a smartphone app to make it easier for patients to connect with a healthcare provider. Computer users need access to high-speed internet and a webcam that has audio capabilities. It’s free to sign up. A medical or allergy visit starts as low as $59, depending on the patient’s health insurance coverage. A session with a therapist is $80 per visit, while a psychologist is $95 per visit. Psychiatry services are $175 for the initial visit and $75 for each subsequent session, though insurance may lower the cost.
8. Doctor on Demand
Doctor on Demand (www.doctorondemand.com) is taking the next step in telemedicine services in a merger with Grand Rounds, creating an integrative virtual healthcare company. It’s a new approach to telehealth, where the company provides patient support in all aspects of care. Patients have access to a multidisciplinary team that addresses concerns in behavioral and mental health, primary care, specialty care and chronic condition management. The company also offers preventative care in:
- Personal wellness: Patients can access lifestyle counseling, emotional health support and smoking cessation.
- Women’s wellness: Patients can get support for heart health, hormone replacement therapy and weight management.
- Men’s wellness: Patients can access counseling for prostate cancer risks, get heart health support, and obtain behavioral health screenings.
- Family medicine: Patients have access to pediatric care for vitamin deficiencies, immunization plans and childhood development counseling.
- Diet and nutrition: Patients can get help with vitamin deficiencies, weight management and metabolic syndrome.
Doctor on Demand also takes care of prescription adjustments and refills. The website is very clear on the conditions not treated, which is different from other companies on this list.
Care is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Those who utilize this company’s telemedicine services have the option to see the same providers each time they schedule a visit, allowing for a closer patient-doctor relationship. Visits are conducted via video, using an app or the web. The cost for each visit is the amount of the patient’s insurance copay or $75.
9. Steady MD
At Steady MD (www.steadymd.com), the focus is on building patient-doctor relationships and providing reliable, steady services. This is a telemedicine company that specializes in just one area: primary care. Before seeing a doctor, patients fill out a questionnaire. The company uses the answers to pair individuals with a physician who suits their lifestyle, personal needs and medical condition. Steady MD offers both adult and pediatric services.
Once patients are paired with their doctors, they then access services via text, video chat or phone call, using a smartphone app or the web. Services are based on membership, rather than a fee-for-service structure. This encourages patients to access their primary care physician whenever they have the need. It is $99 per month, but for that price, patients get personalized attention and can even get same-day appointments. Steady MD is licensed to operate and serves patients in all 50 states.
(www.amwell.com) On the other end of the spectrum from Steady MD in terms of delivery focus is AmWell. This company is all about providing patients with a faster and smarter way to access healthcare. Patients don’t need an appointment to connect with a provider. Most visits take only 10 minutes, though if there is a need for a longer appointment, patients have that option. When a prescription is needed, the doctor sends it to the patient’s local pharmacy.
AmWell providers specialize in a wide range of services. It offers urgent care for the flu, colds, allergies, strep throat, gout and other conditions. There are pediatricians who can treat sore throats, ear infections, pink eye and infections. Women’s health and breastfeeding support are available, as are therapy and psychiatry services. People seeking nutritional support and guidance for special diets, meal planning, digestive issues, weight loss and food allergies can find help at AmWell. Services start as low as $70 for nutritional support, while psychiatric appointments are $279 for the initial visit and $109 for each subsequent session. Insurance can lower the cost.
11. K Health
K Health (www.khealth.com) does things a little differently than other companies on this list. Its goal is to open up access to medical services for cheap, whether the patient has insurance or not. The price is always the same. A single visit is $19, but patients can opt for a $9 per month membership, which gives them unlimited access to doctors. Children over the age of three are free. The providers are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and they treat a wide range of conditions, from dental infections to anxiety and depression.
Patients connect with a doctor via text or video call. Doctors can diagnose conditions, order labs and prescribe medications. They do not prescribe controlled substances. People who use the service have the option of partnering with a care team that provides consistent treatment and management for their health conditions. K Health also has an AI-powered symptom checker and health guides that anyone can access for free.
Virtuwell (www.virtuwell.com) harnesses the expertise of board-certified nurse practitioners to deliver telemedicine services for $59 per visit without insurance. It offers personalized and custom treatment plans, and the providers are available to answer patients’ questions about their plans at no extra charge. Any follow-up appointments are also free. The company also offers a satisfaction guarantee: If it can’t treat the patient’s condition, there is no charge for the appointment. With insurance, the cost per visit is lower.
The providers at Virtuwell offer services in urgent care, pediatrics, women’s health, sexual health, dermatology and pediatrics. They also treat patients with chronic conditions and provide preventative care. They’re available all day and all night, every day of the week. To access services, patients respond to questions about their symptoms. A nurse practitioner reviews the symptoms, makes the diagnosis, and sends the patient a treatment plan. Prescriptions are sent to a local pharmacy.
13. Maven Clinic
The Maven Clinic (www.mavenclinic.com) is another telemedicine site that specializes in one area. This telemedicine service focuses on women’s health and family medicine. It takes a holistic approach to healthcare, and the providers are obstetricians and gynecologists, sleep coaches, midwives, pediatricians, lactation consultants and career coaches, to name a few. These healthcare professionals are always available, including care advocates who will answer patients’ questions whenever they arise.
Patients connect with their team via video chats and text messages. There are more options available for people who access their services through their employers. These patients also get personalized information and access to online classes. The cost for services is between $20 and $70, depending on the type of services and provider.
(www.betterhelp.com) For those looking for a telemedicine site that specializes in behavioral and mental health, BetterHelp is the place to go. It is the world’s largest online counseling service, and it has 20,217 licensed therapists located across the globe. Thus far, it has helped over 2.5 million people get the care they need. It works with individuals, couples and teens.
Patients begin by answering questions about themselves, their needs and their preferences. They are then matched with a therapist who can offer the services they need. Therapy sessions take place using the technology patients are most comfortable with. Their options are texting, phone calls, video chats and messaging. Patients can schedule live sessions for times that are convenient for them, but they can take advantage of texting their therapist whenever they need, without an appointment. The cost for therapy services is between $60 and $90 per week, billed on a monthly basis.
15. Curai Health
Curai Health (www.curaihealth.com) offers personalized and affordable telehealthcare. The board-certified doctors treat a wide range of conditions, from asthma to insomnia. The company created its own platform, which utilizes the power of AI and machine learning to provide more efficient healthcare services. Patients have the option to set health goals, and their doctors and clinical associates help them come up with personalized treatment plans to help them achieve their goals.
Patients access their providers through an app that’s available on iPhones and Androids. Curai Health is a membership service, but it’s affordable. The price is the same whether the patient has insurance or not. After a six-month free trial, members pay $7.99 per month. For this low price, patients get unlimited access to their healthcare providers.
Telemedicine offers convenience, reliability and quick service. People can access medical care wherever they are and whenever they need it. As more people find their way to virtual healthcare, it seems likely that the government will make permanent changes to the regulatory structure to allow for continued care after the current temporary measures lapse. These top 15 telemedicine sites for 2021 demonstrate how effective remote medical care can be.
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