Person holding mobile phone for telehealth appointment

Is telehealth free?

Written on March 20, 2023 by Gillian (Gigi) Singer, MPH. 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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Is telehealth free? The cost of telehealth is dependent on your insurance, providers, etc., but generally speaking, studies suggest that telehealth may be a promising tool for reducing health system costs [1].

One study found that telehealth has the potential to reduce health system costs in various ways, for example, by reducing hospitalizations, emergency department visits, and transportation costs.

According to cost models cited in a 2023 study, “According to cost models, the estimated mean total cost savings ranged from $147.40 to $186.10 per visit” [2].

Defining telehealth

Telehealth “provides patients with remote clinical services through several technologies,” such as video calls, texting/messaging, over the phone, and/or via your healthcare provider’s online portal or platform [3].

Telehealth has grown since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. “The number of Medicare visits conducted through telehealth surged 63-fold during the pandemic, from about 840,000 in 2019 to 52.7 million in 2020” [4].

Types of Telehealth

Telehealth is done through telehealth synchronous care, asynchronous care, and remote patient monitoring.

Synchronous care, also known as real-time care, involves live discussions and assessments with your healthcare provider (HCP) over the phone or through video chat. In other words, it refers to healthcare that is delivered through virtual consultations.

The “store and record” approach is commonly referred to as asynchronous telehealth, whereby you and your selected healthcare provider exchange data such as medical records or images. For example, you may send a written description and a photo to your HCP. Your HCP can then forward this information to another HCP or can provide a treatment plan.

By using an app or a device like a pulse oximeter or blood glucose monitor, remote patient monitoring enables you and your HCP to track and record your health and progress.

Benefits of telehealth

Five primary benefits of telehealth include increased access to care, more convenience, reduced costs, reduced exposure to infectious illnesses and diseases, and increased robust support for people living with chronic health conditions.

Everlywell VCV offering

Cost of telehealth

Fortunately, telemedicine costs are typically less than in-person exams, especially compared with the cost of hospital emergency departments [3]. In some cases, it may be an entirely free service that’s bundled into your care provision. For routine visits or quick requests like the example above, telemedicine can save patients money, even as they receive more care than ever before.

As cited by the American Journal of Managed Care, “According to a study conducted by Red Quill Consulting Inc., the average cost of a virtual visit is $40 to $50, while in-person care can cost as much as $176 per visit” [5].

Other costs that are minimized or even eliminated by telemedicine include transportation and childcare costs.

Listed below are some methods to minimize your telehealth expenses:

  • Verify with your medical insurance provider if they cover telehealth and use your insurance for your telehealth appointment if they do
  • Check if your prescription is covered by your insurance plan
  • Seek prescription discounts if you are paying out of your own pocket
  • Compare various telehealth providers
  • Explore low-cost lab test choices if required

With Everlywell’s network of HCPs, you may pay between ten and sixty dollars for a telehealth consultation, depending on your insurance.

Telehealth via Everlywell

Looking for telemedicine options? Everlywell now provides fast and easy telehealth visits that are covered by major insurance plans. You can receive care from a licensed nurse practitioner via technology that protects your privacy…and it’s all at your fingertips. Depending on your insurance, you may pay between $10 and $60. Many major insurance plans are accepted.

With Telehealth from Everlywell’s network, you are just three simple steps away from talking to a provider about your prescriptions:

  1. Create your profile online, fill out your medical history, and check to see if your insurance is accepted
  2. Schedule your online visit
  3. Receive a care plan to address your needs and symptoms, which may include testing, prescriptions, and lifestyle recommendations

Everlywell’s network of providers can be consulted regarding issues like:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Weight changes
  • Stomach pain
  • Burning with urination
  • Rash/Hives
  • Changes in hair, skin, and nails
  • Problems sleeping
  • Cold & flu
  • COVID-19
  • UTIs
  • Other STIs
  • Minor skin issues

How long to wait for a telehealth appointment: here's what to know

Telehealth security and privacy: key points to know

What is telehealth?


  1. Snoswell CL, Taylor ML, Comans TA, Smith AC, Gray LC, Caffery LJ. Determining if Telehealth Can Reduce Health System Costs: Scoping Review. J Med Internet Res. 2020;22(10):e17298. Published 2020 Oct 19. doi:10.2196/17298
  2. Patel KB, Turner K, Alishahi Tabriz A, et al. Estimated Indirect Cost Savings of Using Telehealth Among Nonelderly Patients With Cancer. JAMA Netw Open. 2023;6(1):e2250211. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.50211.
  3. Voran D. Telemedicine and beyond. Mo Med. 2015;112(2):129-135.
  4. HHS reports 52.7 million Medicare telehealth visits during pandemic: AHA News. American Hospital Association | AHA News. URL. Published December 6, 2021. Accessed March 16, 2023.
  5. Telemedicine: The Cost-Effective Future of Healthcare. AJMC. URL. Published December 6, 2016. Accessed March 16, 2023.
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