For many people, it has always been challenging to spend time and money to book appointments at a local clinic.
But in our COVID-19 world, the need for an online alternative to traditional in-person healthcare is greater than ever.
If you have been looking to book a telehealth appointment for yourself or a family member, you may have heard of an online service called Teladoc.
Teladoc provides physical and mental healthcare services for adults and children without the need to book an in-person appointment.
But is Teladoc the right choice for you, and is it a legitimate health care service? In this in-depth review, we will go over Teladoc’s benefits and features, cost, payment options, pros and cons.
What is Teladoc?
Teladoc is an online clinic service which allows you to make an appointment via phone or video chat with a live doctor to discuss your needs.
While many other online clinics use the word “appointment” rather loosely to denote a physician simply looking over your information and making a decision without speaking with you, Teladoc actually lets you have a real conversation with a human being about your health situation.
Teladoc Quick Facts
- Everyday physical and mental healthcare services
- Adults and children
- Starting at $75 per visit
- Many insurance plans are accepted
- Payment methods: Credit or debit card, Paypal
- Video or phone chat
- 24/7 service
- Book an appointment or wait your turn for the next available appointment
What Are the Benefits of Teladoc?
- Save time, money and effort. It can be inconvenient or close to impossible to schedule a time to visit a local clinic, especially in an underserved area or with a busy work schedule. It can also be expensive. You may save both time and money by using Teladoc. You also can remove the stress around scheduling and commuting to and from an in-person doctor’s appointment.
- Stay safe. With COVID-19 rampant, it doesn’t make sense to visit a clinic in-person unless you absolutely must. With this service, you can safely get the care you need while remaining quarantined in your home environment.
- Get fast answers when you need them. Teladoc offers service 24/7 as a kind of online alternative to traditional urgent care. Wait times are typically pretty brief. Even if it’s the middle of the night, you can talk to a doctor.
- Pay with insurance (potentially). Depending on your insurance provider, you may be able to get your appointment with Teladoc covered. This is not the case for a lot of other online clinics which are cash pay only.
- You choose how and when to schedule appointments. It is up to you whether you want to wait for the next available appointment or schedule at a time you find convenient. Many competing services do not offer this flexibility.
What Services Does Teladoc Provide?
Teladoc offers services in the following health areas:
- Everyday care
- Wellness and prevention
- Mental health
- STD testing
What Does Teladoc Cost?
How much Teladoc costs depends on whether your insurance covers it or not.
If your insurance does not cover Teladoc or you have no insurance, here are the cash pay prices for appointments:
- Everyday Care: $75/visit
- Mental Health: $99/visit
- Dermatology: $95/visit
In some cases, insurance plans may cover the entire cost of Everyday Care visits without any co-pay. If that is the case, you can have these appointments for free.
What Are the Teladoc Payment Options?
Teladoc accepts many insurance plans from a variety of providers including Aetna, Anthem, BCBS, United Healthcare and others.
If you do not see your insurance provider listed, you can become a cash pay patient instead, as discussed previously.
Payment options available include:
- Credit or debit cards
How Does Teladoc Work?
1. Start by creating an account. To do this, click on the purple button on the homepage which says “Get started now.”
Fill in the requested information (name, date of birth, country, email, preferred language, zip code and gender) on the first page. On the second, provide information on your insurance.
If you don’t see your insurer listed, you can call Teladoc to double-check availability. You also can use the service without insurance.
After providing your insurance information, you will need to input your address and preferred phone number, and select a username and password. You also will need to provide answers to security questions in case you need help accessing your account later.
Click on “Complete Registration.”
*Note: As a parent, you cannot register for your child if they are over the age of 18. If your child needs care, they need to make an account of their own. They can only request appointments through that account.
2. Once you join, you can use your account dashboard to you fill in your medical history, add family members, and set your communication preferences when you have a moment to do so. You will find yourself on this screen when you finish registering automatically.
Note that you must submit up-to-date medical history information before you proceed with a visit. It only takes a couple minutes, since you just need to answer basic questions (you do not have to actually submit previous medical records, just list your height, weight, known conditions, etc.).
3. Click on “Request a Visit” if you are ready to get the care you need.
4. On the next screen, input details about the requested visit.
First, select who the visit is for (yourself or one of your family members; you will see the names listed).
Next, input the state where the visit will occur. This allows the system to assign you a physician who is licensed in your state.
Choose which type of visit you want (general health, dermatology, or mental health).
Once you put in what type of appointment you want, the system will tell you your estimated wait time (i.e. 10 minutes).
Select the closest matching option from the dropdown below which asks you to describe the problem you are having.
Select whether you prefer a video or phone conversation. Provide suitable contact information.
You can choose to either speak to a provider as soon as possible or you may schedule a visit.
You can schedule a visit for any time between 7 in the morning and 9 at night in your time zone. But if you go with the on-demand option, service is available to you 24/7.
If you have any information you want to send over, you can attach a file. You also can choose whether Teladoc can send info to your primary provider. This is your opportunity to add a pharmacy as well. Click “Continue.”
5. Pay for your visit.
This next screen will inform you of the total due for your visit. You can now put in your billing information.
6. Review and submit your visit request.
At this point, you will have a chance to review all of the information you have put in to make sure that the details of your appointment requests are correct.
If you are satisfied with the details, you may submit your request.
7. Attend your appointment.
All that is left to do is attend your appointment at the scheduled time or when a physician becomes available, if you chose the option for the next possible visit.
During your visit, you will have a chance to discuss your problem with the healthcare provider assigned to you.
If appropriate, the physician may write you a prescription.
8. Pick up your prescription.
The site will notify you when your prescription has been sent to your selected pharmacy.
At that point, you may pick up your prescription.
Note that Teladoc itself does not operate a pharmacy online. You must use another pharmacy of your choice.
How Long Do Visits Last?
You are given as much time as you need for an Everyday Care visit, though the site states that it is typical for these appointments to conclude after around 15 minutes.
Mental health visits are longer. You pay to book around 45 minutes.
Dermatology visits are different. The site explains, “All communication between you and your dermatologist is through Teladoc’s secure message center. You can ask follow-up questions at no charge for up to seven days and request the same dermatologist for subsequent consults if you wish.”
Is Teladoc Legit?
Yes, Teladoc offers you access to legit healthcare providers.
Teladoc states, “Our care is provided by a network of U.S. board-certified internists, family doctors, and pediatricians licensed to practice medicine in the U.S. and provide care 24/7. We also have board-certified dermatologists, psychiatrists, and licensed therapists who can provide specialty care. Our Medical Experts services are provided by our global network of world-renowned specialists who advise on complex conditions, treatment plans, and surgeries.”
While a doctor will typically be assigned to you based on the information you provide when you request an appointment as well as availability, there are situations where you may be able to select a preferred doctor.
Pros of Teladoc
- The site may accept your insurance. It is common practice for many telehealth services to only accept cash pay patients, but Teladoc is an exception to the rule. While the site does not accept all insurance plans, it is worth checking to see if your provider is on the list.
- You get to talk to a live doctor. Teladoc is also exceptional in allowing you to have a live conversation with a doctor. While there are other sites which include this feature, many others simply have you fill out a form which a doctor reviews before making a decision about a prescription. This is a much more personal service.
- You pick between video and phone chat. The fact that you are allowed to choose can help you get around any compatibility issues involving your device. It also means that you can pick what you are more comfortable with.
- You choose how you want to schedule your appointment. The flexibility in being able to wait for the next available provider or schedule at your convenience is fantastic.
- You can get help day or night any day of the week. With traditional offline clinics, it is impossible to get help overnight or on days the urgent care clinic is closed without going broke in the emergency room. But with Teladoc, you can get 24/7 care. You will pay the same price whether it is 3:00 PM or 3:00 AM.
- Teladoc offers help for a wide variety of physical and mental needs. No matter what type of health issue you are having, there’s a good chance that you can be matched with a suitable provider who can give you the help you need.
Cons of Teladoc
- Teladoc doesn’t offer a pharmacy. If you are looking for the convenience of an online pharmacy, you need to look elsewhere. While you can get a prescription from a Teladoc physician, you will need to have it filled somewhere else. The site can help you search for nearby local pharmacies when you register.
- There is still a time commitment. In many cases, a live conversation with a doctor is likely to be a benefit, not a drawback. But for some simple things, it might be overkill. In cases where submitting answers to a few simple questions and waiting for a doctor to write you a prescription might be sufficient, another service might be more applicable to your needs.
Who Should Consider Teladoc?
You must be a resident of the United States or Canada in order to use Teladoc. If you are traveling overseas, you can still get service, but you do need to be a resident of one of those two countries.
Both adults and children can use Teladoc. You can add family members when you register your account.
Teladoc Offers Live Help and Superior Flexibility
Now you know more about Teladoc. This online clinic can connect you with licensed doctors who can address a wide range of physical and mental health issues.
Moreover, you get actual live help through this website, whereas a lot of other online clinics do not give you the chance to actually chat on the phone or over video with a doctor.
Teladoc interprets the concept of an online appointment more literally than those other services.
Furthermore, you can get rapid, on-demand assistance with physical and mental health issues when you need it, day or night.
When you are a member of Teladoc, the help you need is always close at hand for you and your family.
If you want to give Teladoc a try, just click the link below to register your account now and schedule your first online visit.