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The Best Online Doctor Services of 2021 - Speak to a Doctor 24/7

Nicky Lowney

Online doctors' appointments are the latest advancement in medical treatment. A phenomenal example of medicine meets technology, telehealth—aka online healthcare services—is revolutionizing the way people receive medical treatment. And patients are only too happy to experience the change, especially with the current focus on social distancing.

New to the online doctor's appointment scene? Here's everything you need to know about how telehealth works, and which online doctors may be best for you.

Breaking Down Our Top 10 Choices:

1. Best for medication refills: Web Doctors

2. Best for medical advice: SAMI-Aid

3. Best for discreet medical care: LEMONAID

4. Best for family care: SteadyMD

5. Best for the uninsured: Sesame

6. Best for medical questions: JustAnswer

7. Best for affordable care: CallonDoc 

8. Best for fast treatment: Walgreens

9. Best for monthly subscriptions: HealthSapiens

10.  Best for quick care: Amwell


Those who are not covered by insurance
Discreet medical care
Fast, remote health care, medication refills
People who need advice on medical issues
Primary care visits
24/7 access to a doctor
Men
People with frequent medical issues
Fast, convenient medical services, unique medical services
Fast and convenient prescriptions
$25-$60 for video appointments
$15-$95 per month$25 consultation fee
$39.95
$16-90
$75 per year plus $34.95 per visit
$46 per month
Consultations starting at $0
$19.95-$24.95per month
$39.99-$59.99
$39.99-$59.99
Video or phone
Website, IOS or Android app
Phone, video
Email, text, phone
Video chat
Live chat
Chat, video (psychiatric consultation only)
Phone, video
Phone, video, computer, app
Online platform, phone consultations
N/A
None
Yes
None
None
None
Depends on insurer
No insurance required, works with insurance
None
None
Anything other than narcotics or controlled substances.
Most prescriptions as well as generics
Most non-narcotic prescriptions
No
Yes
None
Most prescriptions
All non-narcotic prescriptions and refills
Most medications, except sleeping, weight loss, hair loss medications and controlled substances
Most medications, except narcotics
No
Yes
No
Yes
Available, not included
No
May cost extra
Yes
Available, not included
No

The Best Online Doctors - An In-Depth Look

  • 1
    Sesame
    • Best ForThose who are not covered by insurance
    • Price$25-$60 for video appointments
    • Modes of CommunicationVideo or phone

    Sesame’s network of first-class specialists provides you with the option of selecting your own doctor and finding the specialist best suited to assist you. Not only can you select the specialist ideally suited to treat your medical needs, but you can also sort doctors by price and language to help you receive care tailored for your needs.

    The scheduling software allows you to find a time that works for you, and the highly affordable rates make insurance completely unnecessary. Add to this the fact that your appointment is conducted within the comfort of your own home and the reasons for Sesame’s popularity become clear.

    Pros
    • Direct contact with healthcare professionals
    • Huge range of specialists available
    • Full refund for cancellation within 24 hours of appointment
    Cons
    • Must be paid for out of pocket
    • Issues may be missed with no in-person consultation
  • 2
    LEMONAID

    LEMONAID

    • Best ForDiscreet medical care
    • Price$15-$95 per month$25 consultation fee
    • Modes of CommunicationWebsite, IOS or Android app

    Lemonaid makes healthcare both accessible and affordable to users across the nation. The option of receiving a diagnosis via an online questionnaire not only saves users’ time, but also allows them to maintain privacy. The website and app are easy for users to navigate and the questionnaire can be submitted at any hour of any day.

    With a sizable range of treatments options, door-to-door medication delivery, and a top-notch medical team, Lemonaid provides a useful service that can nay prove helpful to you.

    Pros
    • Medication inconspicuously delivered to your door
    • Doctors licensed in all states
    • Affordable prices
    Cons
    • Not covered by insurance
    • Some treatments do require a live video or phone consultation
  • 3
    Web Doctors

    Web Doctors

    • Best ForFast, remote health care, medication refills
    • Price$39.95
    • Modes of CommunicationPhone, video

    WebDoctors.com is a telehealthcare service that allows patients to get urgent care and routine medical treatments 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from the comfort of their own homes. WebDoctors.com treats all kinds of non-emergency conditions, including pink eye, urinary tract infections, and upper respiratory infections. All doctors are board-certified, American-trained, and duly-licensed, so you are getting professional medical care. Plus, WebDoctors.com has thousands of positive reviews from happy clients that have used the service.

    WebDoctors.com offers phone and video consultations, so you can choose the level of care you want and only pay a flat fee for the visit. This saves time, effort, and money, especially for people who are paying high co-pays for their insurance plans or need to shell out pricey urgent care center fees.

    Pros
    • Always available 24/7
    • Prescriptions and refills available
    • Phone and video consultations available
    • No subscription needed
    Cons
    • Have to pay more for video consultations
  • 4
    JustAnswer

    JustAnswer

    • Best ForPeople who need advice on medical issues
    • Price$16-90
    • Modes of CommunicationEmail, text, phone

    JustAnswer is a fast and easy way to get expert medical advice on a wide range of medical conditions. From asthma to sexually transmitted diseases to the common cold, JustAnswer experts are on call to answer your questions.

    JustAnswer has a subscription plan that lets you ask unlimited questions to an expert in the field. What’s more, you can ask as many follow up questions as you’d like until you are completely satisfied with your conversation. And if you have more questions, you can always come back later for further clarification.

    Pros
    • Fast responses
    • Access to thousands of professionals
    • A fraction of the expense of traditional medical care
    Cons
    • Video chats only available as premium service
    • No medication prescriptions
    • Surprise charges are possible
    • Best ForPrimary care visits
    • Price$75 per year plus $34.95 per visit
    • Modes of CommunicationVideo chat

    Antidote Health offers an inexpensive telemedicine platform where you can video chat with a primary care physician at any time. Doctors are available 24/7/365 and you can schedule as many appointments as you want each year.

    What’s great about this service is that each visit is less than half the cost of a traditional in-person doctor’s appointment. Plus, you can get prescriptions or referrals for lab tests, and Antidote offers simple follow-up consultations when needed.

    Pros
    • Inexpensive annual subscription
    • Get prescriptions and refills
    • Doctors available 24/7/365
    Cons
    • Only available in 3 states
    • Prescription refills require another appointment
  • 6
    AskADoctor

    AskADoctor

    • Best For24/7 access to a doctor
    • Price$46 per month
    • Modes of CommunicationLive chat


    Ask A Doctor is an online medical service whereby you can chat with a board-certified physician 24/7. There’s no appointment needed, and you can get answers to anything ranging from general medical questions to issues that need a specialist’s attention. Ask A Doctor has specialists in mental health, cardiology, orthopedics, and more.

    Ask A Doctor doesn’t accept insurance, and a monthly subscription costs $46 per month. Your subscription includes unlimited access to the platform’s expert doctors as well as the entire pool of over 12,000 experts available on JustAnswers.com. You can also try out Ask A Doctor for 7 days for just $1.

    Pros
    • 24-hour access to board-certified physicians
    • Low-cost monthly membership
    • Specialists across a wide range of medical disciplines
    Cons
    • Physicians cannot write prescriptions online
    • Cannot request the same doctor each time
    • Best ForMen
    • PriceConsultations starting at $0
    • Modes of CommunicationChat, video (psychiatric consultation only)

    Hims is a telehealth website that specializes in treatments for men. In addition to primary care services (like the treatment of colds, infections and allergies), monthly prescriptions are available for skin and haircare, plus sexual problems like ED and PE. Psychiatric consultations are also available. 

    Reviews are mostly positive, with a few negative comments centered around a lack of clarity regarding the automatic renewal of monthly prescriptions. Just be sure to read the conditions of your treatment carefully. The prices are reasonable, starting at $39 for primary care consultations, and better than many competitors.

    Pros
    • Geared towards men’s health & wellness
    • Treatments for a wide array of ailments
    • Includes mental health services
    Cons
    • Not all services available in all states
    • Some complaints regarding subscriptions
  • 8
    HealthSapiens

    HealthSapiens

    • Best ForPeople with frequent medical issues
    • Price$19.95-$24.95per month
    • Modes of CommunicationPhone, video

    HealthSapiens is one of the most affordable online medical services out there today. Costing just $19.95 a month for individuals, HealthSapiens provides you with 24/7 access to board-certified medical professionals. They’re trained to give you medical treatment and advice on all sorts of medical conditions, including rashes, coughs, colds, diarrhea, ear and eye aches, infections, and much more.

    What really makes HealthSapiens unique is that it charges a one-time monthly fee, and that's it. You get unlimited doctor visits and 24/7 access with that flat rate. Plus, you can have your prescriptions and refills sent directly to your local pharmacy for faster pickup. HealthSapiens works with or without health insurance. 

    Pros
    • Monthly flat-fee plans
    • 24/7 unlimited access
    • Prescriptions and refills sent directly to pharmacy
    Cons
    • FAQ section is small
    • Cannot choose your preferred therapist
    • Price for counseling subscription unclear
  • 9
    SAMI-Aid

    SAMI-Aid

    • Best ForFast, convenient medical services, unique medical services
    • Price$39.99-$59.99
    • Modes of CommunicationPhone, video, computer, app

    SAMI-Aid is not like your typical telehealthcare service. It offers instant access to medical professionals, including registered nurses and certified doctors, via a convenient mobile app. Patients can get medical advice and guidance for medical issues such as dermatological problems, mental health issues, and diet and nutrition from the comfort of their own homes.

    But SAMI-Aid goes even further than this, providing out-of-the-box medical services like find a doctor price comparison search and EMR cloud storage. SAMI-Aid also has a convenient medical tourism consultation service. This helps patients find the most professional and cost-efficient medical treatments from locations around the world for deep savings and better results.

    Pros
    • Offers unique telehealth services
    • Available 24/7
    • No subscription necessary
    Cons
    • Does not cover some types of medical issues
    • Does not accept insurance
  • 10
    CallonDoc

    CallonDoc

    • Best ForFast and convenient prescriptions
    • Price$39.99-$59.99
    • Modes of CommunicationOnline platform, phone consultations

    CallonDoc is an online health platform for requesting medication prescriptions and refills quickly and efficiently. Available during extended business hours, CallonDoc doctors can write you out a prescription based on the symptoms or conditions you specify in your online application. From there, CallonDoc will send your prescription directly to a local pharmacy. 

    CallonDoc offers most prescriptions, including antibiotics, allergy medications, and antifungal creams. You can also get lab tests ordered, with the results sent directly to your private account. What’s more, CallonDoc can order you an STD test in a discreet and private manner.

    Pros
    • Faster and more convenient way to get medication
    • Refills available
    • Discreet STD testing
    Cons
    • Little to no personal interaction with a doctor
    • Have to pay for each medication separately
    • Not available 24/7

How Do Online Doctors Work?

Online doctors embrace the use of technology. Using a telehealth platform, patients can talk to a doctor online, get a diagnosis, and receive treatment for a wide variety of medical conditions (more on that below). There are a few ways to get medical services via an online doctor, including text messaging, phone consultations, video chat, and submitting online requests.

Many services will let you send in a message containing your symptoms, current medical condition, or medical concerns and questions directly to a doctor via the online platform. Your messages will be reviewed by a doctor and responded to accordingly. This is the most efficient method if you’re just looking for direct answers to a particular question or a prescription for medications you need.

Alternatively, if you want to actually interact with the doctor in real-time, you can use 1 of 2 methods: phone or video chat. Here’s how that works:

  • Schedule an appointment for the near future or send in a request for an immediate appointment.

  • If you request an immediate appointment, then you’ll be put on the waiting list and seen by the next available doctor.

  • If you schedule an appointment for the near future, most telehealth services will allow you to pick the doctor you want to see. This is a great feature as it will allow you to select a doctor you may already be familiar with and are more comfortable with.

  • When you see the doctor, they’ll discuss your symptoms or medical condition in depth. You’ll be asked clarifying questions such as medical history or family history, lifestyle habits, diet, and more—anything that’s relevant to your treatment.

  • The doctor will diagnose your medical condition and recommend a treatment plan suited for your condition.

  • If you require any medication, the doctor will send the prescription directly to the pharmacy closest to you for pick-up. Most telemedicine services will provide same-day pick-up for medications.

Telehealth services provide a convenient platform that includes all of your medical history and treatment history in one easy-to-access place.

What Types of Services and Areas of Expertise Do Online Doctors Offer?

Online healthcare services treat a tremendous array of non-emergency medical conditions. The list ranges from basic, everyday conditions like the common cold, the flu, or an eye infection to more complicated or chronic medical conditions like type 2 diabetes, asthma, and sexually transmitted diseases. What's more, online doctors' services usually offer therapy for mental health issues like depression, panic attacks, and anxiety. You can find psychiatric and psychological treatments as well as specialists that deal with dermatological issues and allergies.

Here’s just a partial list of medical conditions and services that are available via online doctors' services:

  • Antibiotics for infections  

  • Birth control pills

  • PrEP for HIV prevention

  • Cold Symptoms

  • Flu symptoms

  • Bodily injuries    

  • Acne

  • Migraines   

  • STD tests     

It is important to clarify that online doctors and medical services are not a good solution for emergency medical care. High urgency conditions or situations, including concussions, external bleeding, major psychiatric illnesses, heart attack, suicidal or homicidal thinking, or major burns, should be dealt with by heading straight to the emergency room, going to an urgent care unit, or dialing 911 for immediate emergency assistance.

How Much Do Online Doctors Cost?

There are generally 2 different types of pricing models when it comes to online doctors' appointments and medical services: the monthly plan/membership or the one-off rate.

  • Subscription plans and memberships

Some telehealth services offer monthly or annual subscription plans. If you tend to visit the doctor more than once a month, have a chronic condition that needs regular medical attention, or require frequent medications, then a subscription plan is the most cost-effective option for you. These online medical services give you unlimited access to all of the medical services provided for a single flat rate. This is also a good option for people who like to ask a lot of questions, have frequent medical concerns, or like to be in touch with the doctor.

These services can range from $19-$100 per month. You can also sign up for annual plans ranging from $50-$1,200, depending on the services you require and number of people you want to cover (i.e., check out the family plans).

  • One-off fees

Alternatively, many online medical service providers work on a one-time payment basis. When you use the service, you pay. When you don't, you don't. If you don't generally visit the doctor very often, are generally healthy, or don't have any major medical conditions to worry about, this might be a better option than paying for a full subscription (though not always). Depending on how much the per-service fee is, you may be able to find monthly or annual subscriptions that are cheaper than the one-off fee. So, do your homework.

Prices per visit will also vary depending on the type of doctor’s appointment you want. For example, every day or urgent care appointments will generally cost you less than a mental health session. Prices range from $55 a visit up to $299.

It's also worth noting that many online doctors' services work with your health insurance or employee health plan. If that's the case, the cost of visits, services, and sometimes membership will be covered, making telehealth services an obvious choice.

Why Should I Choose an Online Doctor?

Online medical services are growing in popularity, and it’s not hard to understand why. Here are a few of the benefits of using telehealth platforms over the more traditional doctor’s visit:

  • Convenience

You can book an appointment whenever you need one, see the doctor, and get treatment all from the comfort of your own home, your office, or wherever you are.

  • Time

You don’t have to sit and wait in a doctor’s office or waiting room, wait for an appointment slot to open up, and wait for results. Everything is done on your schedule, and your medical e-card is automatically updated after each visit.

  • Availability

Most telehealth services work with a network of doctors, so someone is available 24/7 to help. Some platforms also offer unlimited messaging, so you can chat with a doctor and ask questions even after you've received a diagnosis.

  • Affordability

Finally, telehealth services come at a fraction of what you’ll pay for urgent care or emergency room treatments. In fact, many of these services are cheaper than your average co-pay with your health insurance. With flat monthly subscriptions, you get unlimited access to medical professionals and services whenever you want.

Online Doctors: The Wave of the Future

Telehealth services are providing Americans with an easier, faster, and more convenient way to get the medical treatment they need. And with affordable pricing plans, 24/7 availability, and large networks of compassionate, board-certified, and professional doctors, telehealth is a viable alternative to the traditional medical approach.

Nicky Lowney
Nicky Lowney has been writing about health and medicine for more than 15 years. With a master’s degree in health communication, she specializes in translating complex medical information into readable, engaging content. Nicky has written for top10.com, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, Decision Resources Group, and EBSCO Information Services, among other clients. In her free time, Nicky enjoys cycling, hiking, and performing with her local community theater.