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What is the cost of telehealth?

Medically reviewed on January 4, 2023 by Jordan Stachel, MS, RDN, CPT. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.


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Telehealth services allow patients to meet with licensed medical care providers virtually. During the visit, the healthcare provider will address your symptoms and recommend next steps, whether it’s a prescription, a lifestyle change, or an in-person visit, if necessary.

So, if you’re wondering if services like sexually transmitted disease (STD) treatment is possible online or if gonorrhea treatment is possible online, the answer is yes. A telemedicine visit can be used for a range of services, including consultations, prescription management, mental health care, and reviews of common conditions, such as allergies, STDs, and respiratory infections [1]. And telehealth visits typically cost less than an in-person visit, depending on your condition [2].

What is telehealth?

What is a virtual appointment, or in other words, a telehealth appointment? Telehealth, or telemedicine, refers to visits with a healthcare provider that don’t occur in person. Instead, a telehealth appointment can be conducted in a variety of formats, including a [1]:

  • Live video meeting
  • Phone call
  • Secure message through a patient portal

Most commonly, you’ll meet with your provider live on a video call. You’ll receive a link to join your appointment through a secure, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)-compliant system used by your healthcare provider’s office. You can use your own phone, computer, or laptop to connect to the meeting.

What services can be provided via telehealth?

Telehealth services can cover everything from general check-ups to counseling, as well as surgical and post-operative consultations. These services can be provided to you by a variety of providers, including nurses, psychiatrists, and many other healthcare providers.

Telehealth and virtual care can provide the following services [1]:

  • General wellness consultations – A telehealth consult can be used to review and provide consultations for various conditions, including migraines, urinary tract infection (UTI)s, respiratory infections, digestive issues, and skin conditions. You’ll likely discuss your symptoms with your provider to identify the next steps. If necessary, your online healthcare provider will refer you for an in-person follow-up.
  • Prescription management – If you have an existing prescription, you can meet with your healthcare provider virtually to assess how well you’re responding to a medication, adjust the dosage, and monitor side effects. Some states require an in-person visit for a new prescription of controlled substances like opiates or amphetamines. Other medications, like antibiotics for common conditions such as UTI, can be prescribed through a telemedicine visit.
  • Mental health consultations – Telehealth services can provide patients with access to mental health professionals, such as therapists or counselors, for remote counseling sessions to address conditions like anxiety and depression.
  • Vital sign monitoring – Some telehealth services can provide patients with devices that allow them to monitor their vital signs, such as their blood pressure and heart rate, remotely. This information can be transmitted to healthcare providers who can monitor the patient's health and make any necessary adjustments for next steps.
  • Post-operative consultations – Post-operative follow-up visits with your surgeon, can often be conducted online as long as recovery is progressing normally.

Telehealth services are a helpful tool for patients who might otherwise have difficulty accessing care. For example, people in rural areas can consult with specialists or receive prompt attention for routine issues like stomach aches or respiratory infections.

Telehealth can also save on drive time and missed work time, and it’s typically cheaper than an office visit [2].

How much does telehealth cost with and without insurance?

The cost of telehealth services will vary depending on your insurance policy, the telehealth service you use, and the type of appointment you need.

A study published by the Journal of Medical Internet Research in 2022 found that, on average, a telehealth visit was less costly than visiting a healthcare provider in person [3].

However, the cost varies depending on the type of appointment.

For example, a telehealth appointment for a respiratory infection like bronchitis or laryngitis can average around $79, compared to an average of $146 for an in-person visit [1].

  • If you’re insured – Most insurance companies now provide free or low-cost access to an online telehealth service. Call or visit your insurance company’s website for plan-specific information.
  • If you’re uninsured – Even without insurance, you can still access online telehealth services such as the Virtual Care Visit from Everlywell. You can also search for a clinic in your area that offers telehealth services on a sliding scale using the Department of Health and Human Services’ national directory of health centers [4].

Stay on top of your health with Everlywell

Whether you’re looking for a routine wellness check, a prescription refill, or a consultation with a specialist, telehealth services are a valuable resource that can save time, hassle, and money. Everlywell now offers telehealth appointments that are between $10 and $50 with insurance and $59 without insurance (HSA/FSA accepted).

Schedule an appointment today to speak with a qualified expert for better care.

What diagnoses can you get online?

Telemedicine appointment with no insurance: how it works

Is telehealth cheaper than an office visit?

Telehealth vs. in-person care: does it measure up?


References

  1. Ashwood JS, Mehrotra A, Cowling D, Uscher-Pines L. Direct-To-Consumer Telehealth May Increase Access To Care But Does Not Decrease Spending. Health Affairs. 2017;36(3):485-491. doi:10.1377/hlthaff.2016.1130
  2. Understanding telehealth | Telehealth.HHS.gov. URL
  3. Cuellar A, Pomeroy JML, Burla S, Jena AB. Outpatient Care Among Users and Nonusers of Direct-to-Patient Telehealth: Observational Study. Journal of Medical Internet Research. 2022;24(6):e37574. doi:10.2196/37574
  4. Find a Health Center. findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov. URL
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