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The 6 Best Telemedicine Companies Of 2022 For Health Care From Your Home

Author:
September 1, 2022
Written by
September 1, 2022
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Telemedicine has surged in popularity for both physical and mental health needs, and it's hard to deny the convenience, availability, and affordability that comes with a swap from in-person to virtual appointments.

Perhaps you've been reluctant to sit in crowded waiting rooms filled with sick people, or maybe you can't take time off of work to go to a doctor's appointment; either way the best telemedicine companies make it possible to take charge of your health from the comfort of your own home.

From general health care needs to specific concerns, telemedicine can connect you directly with health care professionals who are available to assist with diagnosis and treatment for any well-being concerns. Below, we uncover what makes a telemedicine company worth considering and how to find the best option for you.

What is telemedicine?

Telemedicine is the use of telecommunication and information technology to offer non-emergency clinical health care services at a distance. You can skip the waiting room and have a convenient virtual at-home or virtual office consultation with your health care professional using video chats, messaging, and digital technology platforms.

David Copenhaver, M.D., MPH, director of Pain Tele-Health Programs and professor and chief of pain medicine at U.C.–Davis, says that telemedicine's benefits include convenience and the ability to get care when distance or driving to an appointment are barriers.

"For follow-up visits where patients already have a known and established relationship with their clinician, telehealth can be a fabulous way of maintaining contact, describing and surveilling current therapies that the patient is taking, and communicating changes in their care. We've even seen telehealth be useful for those of us that do surgeries and perform procedures," says Copenhaver. He shares that telemedicine can also be useful for checking on a wound or evaluating a patient's progress. 

To prepare for getting the most out of a telemedicine visit, Copenhaver says, "One bit of advice for patients is in order to provide the best care for yourself and advocate for yourself, to be a good steward of your medical records and history and come to the visit with a well-prepared understanding [of your medical history] to guide your clinician in helping you."

Telemedicine cannot replace all doctor's visits. If you are experiencing shortness of breath, chest pain, excessive bleeding, a high fever, severe vomiting, seizures, or you think you broke a bone, you should immediately call 911 or go to the emergency room. If you are having suicidal thoughts, call the Suicide Crisis Lifeline at 988, or get to an emergency room right away.

While virtual appointments can replace many trips to the doctor for common medical issues, they cannot totally replace a hands-on in-person physical examination. It's important to still have an open line of communication with your primary health care provider.

How we picked:

Variety

We chose telemedicine providers that offer a broad range of services including urgent non-emergency care, primary care, specialized care, and mental health support.

Budget

Since everyone has different budget and insurance needs, we looked at telemedicine services that offered different plans from one-time appointments to subscription services, as well as those that work with insurance plans.

Vetting process

All sites have health care professionals who are licensed and/or board certified if they are physicians.

Platform quality

All telemedicine provider sites selected are HIPAA compliant to protect patient information. We took into consideration the ease of access to providers, cost, and user reviews.

mbg's picks of the best telemedicine companies of 2022:

Best for fast booking: Sesame Care

Sesame Care
VIEW ON Sesame Care

Pros:

  • Affordable appointments and prescription refills regardless of insurance status
  • Website is easy to navigate
  • Appointments are easy to get & can be booked in minutes

Cons:

  • Does not accept most insurance plans (but costs may be reimbursed by insurance)
  • No visit summaries provided
  • Chart and note requests cost $6.50 per request and may take up to 30 calendar days to complete

Sesame offers affordable direct-to-patient doctor appointments to anyone, no matter what your insurance status. You can pay as you go with one-time visits starting at $39 for non-members. A membership drops the price to $19 per appointment and costs $8.25 a month.

When making an appointment, you'll be able to choose from over 80 specialties for telemedicine or in-person appointments. Options include appointments for prescription refills, skin consultations, dentistry, therapy, and more. You can search for doctors, dentists, and nurse practitioners based on your needs and preferences, and then choose the appointment based on your budget and schedule. Prior to setting the appointment, you can also see the profiles of board-certified physicians that are available, including active licensure, years of practice, education, training, and specializations.

Virtual appointments are held through a secure online telehealth platform, and payments are made through Stripe, a secure third-party HIPAA-compliant payment platform.

Cost: Visits start at $39/visit for non-members and $19/visit for members

What customers say: 

Rating: 4.3 out of 5 on Trustpilot, with a 5-star rating by 77% of reviewers

One reviewer on Trustpilot said, "I had a great experience using this service. I found it so easy and the doctor was very helpful and personable. I will use this again if needed."

Best for mental health: BetterHelp

BetterHelp
VIEW ON BetterHelp

Pros

  • You can stay anonymous with your therapist and identify through a nickname
  • Therapists are vetted through a rigorous process that only accepts about 20% of applicants

Cons

  • Does not accept insurance
  • You can't choose your own therapist (but you can switch)

While nearly all the telemedicine sites included in this list offer mental health services, BetterHelp specializes in mental health treatment, matching you with a licensed and credentialed therapist based on your personalized needs including your objectives, preferences, and issues that you are dealing with. Therapy options include individual therapy, couples' therapy, and teen therapy. Professionals are trained in multiple areas of expertise and provide therapy for specialties including anxiety, relationships, addiction, depression, eating disorders, trauma, LGBTQIA+ matters, and more.

Communication is done through messages, live chatting, phone calls, and/or video conferencing. Privacy and confidentiality are protected though the platform's state-of-the-art technology, which follows best practices for encryption and security.

Cost: Prices range from $60 to $90 per week

What customers say:

Rating: 4.6 on Trustpilot, with a 5-star rating by 84% of reviewers

One reviewer on Trustpilot said, "Betterhelp has changed my life; BetterHelp and the highly qualified therapists they connected me with have saved my life many times over. The platform and service they provide have made finding help for my situation so much easier than before. There is for me no better solution than BetterHelp."

Best budget: GoodRx Care

GoodRx Care
VIEW ON GoodRx

Pros:

  • Budget-friendly
  • Covers a wide range of medical services
  • Offers a 100% refund if your are unhappy with your service

Cons:

  • Some reviewers on Trustpilot say pharmacy quotes can be inaccurate
  • You cannot pay for online visits or prescriptions with insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid
  • Some reviewers on Trustpilot say there can be long waits to speak with a doctor or get customer service help

GoodRx Care is one of the lowest cost telemedicine providers available. You might be familiar with GoodRx, a free price comparison resource that helps people find discount prescription prices across 70,000 pharmacies. GoodRx merged with HeyDoctor in 2019 and now provides a full range of medical services including appointments for general health, sexual health, prescription refills, preventive care, and more.

You can also get discount prescription prices when used with GoodRx coupons at pharmacies including Safeway, Costco, Walgreens, and Target.

Creating a free account on the RxCare website allows you to schedule visits and message with providers through the platform. Information is stored in an encrypted HIPAA-compliant manner.

Cost: Visits start at $19/visit with a Gold membership ($9.99 a month) or $49/visit without a membership

What customers say:

Rating: GoodRx has a 3.4 out of 5 rating on Trustpilot, with a 5-star rating by 81% of reviewers (Reviewers reviewed both the pharmacy discount service and telehealth service on this page.)

One reviewer on Trustpilot said, "I don't even know what to say, other than thank you, thank you, and thank you. The online telehealth is so quick and easy. Had problems with anxiety which leads to ED. I signed up for their Gold plan, late at night, woke up, answered a few questions and had prescription ready by noon. I will continue to use their services after the easy process. Saved me time and lots of money. I have really good insurance and their services still ended up being cheaper. When scripts are at an all-time high GoodRx seems to always save the day. Thanks again GoodRx."

Best for messaging: PlushCare

PlushCare
VIEW ON PlushCare

Pros:

  • 30-day free trial
  • Same-day appointments are available
  • Unlimited in-app support

Cons:

  • Must have a membership (but costs can be offset by your insurance)
  • Does not accept Medicare or Medicaid

PlushCare offers urgent non-emergency care, primary care, and mental health support. While PlushCare does require a subscription fee for insured and uninsured users, the cost of using the service can be reduced if PlushCare is one of your insurance company's telemedicine partners.

Some perks that PlushCare offers are a free 30-day trial to see if it meets your needs (and refunds for those who are unhappy with their service). Members also get unlimited in-app messaging to their care team for information and support, which makes it easier to partake in preventive care. Plus, Plushcare offers same-day appointments and can usually deliver health care advice with a board-certified doctor within 15 minutes of your request.

Cost: $14.99/month or $99/year for membership. For self-pay, new visits are $129 and follow-ups are $69. For those with in-network insurance, most visits are $30.

What customers say:

Rating: 4.3 out of 5 on TrustPilot, with a 5-star rating by 86% of reviewers

One reviewer on TrustPilot said, "Impressed how easy it was and how quick I was able to talk to a Dr and get the medication I needed all within hours of setting up the appointment."

Best with insurance: MDLive

MDLive
VIEW ON MDLive

Pros:

  • Accepts most insurance plans
  • You can choose your own doctor
  • Free app allows you to access care anywhere

Cons:

  • Some reviewers on Trustpilot say estimates for wait times are inaccurate
  • Check with your insurer yourself to make sure services are covered as some reviewers on Trustpilot reported billing issues

More than 60 million people have MDLive included in their health insurance plans, and the telemedicine company has already provided care for millions of people—yet the service has still earned 4.4 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot from more than 11,700 reviewers.

Appointments can be made for a wide range of conditions in urgent care, primary care, mental health, dermatology and more, with visits available 24/7. You can search through the platform's network of board-certified doctors to find the one that is right for your needs or get an appointment with the first available doctor.

Cost: MDLive accepts most insurance plans, and appointments could cost as little as $0 depending on health benefits but will vary based on your plan. If you don't have insurance, MDLive will show you the cost of the visit before it begins.

What customers say:

Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot, with a 5-star rating by 82% of reviewers

One reviewer on Trustpilot said, "The Dr I spoke with was very professional, understanding and thorough. I was able to get through quickly and was able to get on antibiotics within 2 hrs of our phone call. Will definitely use this service again! Thank you!!"

Best for general care: Teladoc

Teladoc
VIEW ON Teladoc

Pros:

  • One-stop shop for nearly all your medical concerns
  • Many insurance plans include Teladoc
  • Easy account setup

Cons:

  • Some reviewers report technical issues
  • Only certain prescriptions can be ordered or refilled
  • Check with your insurer yourself to make sure services are covered as some reviewers on Trustpilot reported billing issues

Teladoc was one of the first companies to offer telemedicine, and it's one of the largest players in the field, offering a wide variety of services including adult, adolescent and pediatric primary care, mental health care, and sexual health treatment and management.

The Teladoc site is easy to navigate, and the FAQ section of the website includes the answers to many common questions regarding what health care services are offered, prescriptions, insurance costs, and how to prepare for your appointment.

Cost: Depending on the insurance plan, visits may cost $0. Without insurance, general medicine visits are $75/visit and specialty visits vary in price.

What customers say:

Rating: 4.3 out of 5 on Trustpilot, with a 5-star rating by 76% of reviewers

One reviewer on Trustpilot said, "The doctor was quick and informative and provided a solution to the issue that was presented. Thanks Teladoc!"

FAQ

Who is the largest telemedicine provider?

Teladoc is the largest player in the telemedicine market in the United States. The company operates in over 130 countries. According to HealthCareDive, in 2021 the company posted revenues of over $2 billion. In the U.S. alone, it has over 53.6 million paid members.

Who are the leaders in telemedicine?

Leaders in telemedicine include Teladoc, MDLive Inc., MeMD, Amwell, Doctor on Demand, Sesame Care, PlushCare, and HealthTap. In the following specific areas, leaders include women's health care, Maven; men's sexual issues, ForHims; new parents, Pacify; mental health, BetterHelp.

What is the difference between telemedicine and telehealth?

Many people use the two terms interchangeably, but there is a difference. Telemedicine specifically refers to the practice of health care professionals who provide clinical health care services using communication technology.

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), telehealth refers more broadly to the technology and health care services used to provide care. While telemedicine refers to clinical services, telehealth can include nonclinical services.

The takeaway.

Telemedicine is a convenient, cost-effective way to have access to licensed health care professionals. While virtual medicine cannot always eliminate the need to actually see a doctor in person, when it comes to common medical problems, it is an efficient way to get the medical attention you need right when you need it.

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Lizzy Sherman

Lizzy Sherman is an award-winning digital content writer and editor with previous bylines in Healthline, Cnet, Chowhound, and more. She's also been a featured guest speaker at Cal State University Northridge, Digital LA, and The National Association of Audience Marketing Professionals. When she's not writing, Lizzy enjoys yoga and playing guitar.