Best Online Pediatricians

How to choose an online pediatrician for your family

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You can access the best online pediatricians from your home, often as quickly as you request an appointment. These services typically work by creating an online or app-based account, sharing relevant health data, and participating in a phone or video chat. Because many child health concerns don’t happen from 9 to 5, online pediatricians can provide an accessible and often low-cost service to gain peace of mind or identify if you need to seek more urgent care

We’ve reviewed more than 15 online pediatric services and compiled a list of eight of the best online pediatricians. Each was selected by category for considerations such as cost, accessibility, and whether specialists are board-certified.

Best Online Pediatricians of 2021

Best Overall : Amwell for Pediatrics

Amwell for Pediatrics

Amwell for Pediatrics

Why we chose it: Amwell was selected as our best overall because it provides round-the-clock access to board-certified pediatricians across the United States on an app or computer-based platform.

Pros
  • Care available in all 50 states

  • All providers are board-certified, and you can select your provider

  • Service provided 24 hours a day

Cons
  • $79 per visit if not insured; can be pricier than some other sites

  • Not all pediatric specialists available in all states

Since children don’t often get sick during normal pediatrician office hours, this is where Amwell for pediatrics comes in. Their platform offers around-the-clock access to board-certified pediatricians nationwide. We chose Amwell as the best overall because of the many choices in using the platform. 

When you log on to the platform (available by either app or desktop), you enter in your child’s concerns. From there, you can view a list of providers and schedule an appointment with a particular provider (such as one in your state) or see the next-available provider. This way, you do not have to have an appointment to see a pediatric provider quickly. The site does offer some specialty pediatricians, such as neurology, urology, and gastroenterology; availability varies by state. 

Seeing an Amwell physician is $79 which is about $90 cheaper than a traditional office visit. The cost is the same, even if you use the service on the weekends or late at night. The typical timeframe for an Amwell doctor’s visit is about 10 minutes, the amount of time needed to handle most medical issues, according to their site. The site does accept insurance, and you can check to see if your insurance policy covers an Amwell visit. Notable participating insurance companies included Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield of varying states, and United Healthcare. You don’t have to have insurance to receive care, however.

Best Budget : Sesame

Sesame

 Sesame

Why we chose it: Sesame was selected as our best for a budget because it puts the power of choice in your hands, allowing you to select your own provider at a listed cost that’s usually lower than $60.

Pros
  • Allows you to select provider by pricing

  • Offers easy-to-read provider bios for selection purposes

Cons
  • Only available in nine states

  • Does not accept insurance

Sesame is a telemedicine platform that allows you to select a provider for a specific, upfront price before starting your pediatrics consultation. While Sesame does not accept health insurance, you can use funds from a health savings account (HSA) or flexible spending account (FSA). If your insurance allows for out-of-network coverage, you can submit this receipt for reimbursement. 

Sesame’s platform allows you to choose from both doctor and nurse practitioner providers for pediatric care. Each provider lists conditions they will (and sometimes won’t) treat and if they will write or refill prescriptions. Provider costs vary by type and services (usually more if you need a prescription). We saw visit prices as low as $29 for a 15-minute visit up to $64. 

We liked that each potential provider had their own page where you could read about their training and services provided. The explanations helped to provide a better understanding of the provider before an appointment. 

The main drawback of Sesame is availability. As of January 2021, they offer services in Texas, California, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, Georgia, and North Carolina. However, they are working on expanding the states where they offer services, per their website.

Best for User Friendliness : CallOnDoc

CallOnDoc

 CallOnDoc

Why we chose it: CallOnDoc was selected as our best for user-friendliness because it offers 24-hour care at a cost of $40 per visit. You can choose to utilize a free follow-up visit two weeks after your initial appointment.

Pros
  • Easy-to-use platform that requires minimal wait and operates around-the-clock

  • Free follow-up visit

  • Provides care for those ages 2 and up

Cons
  • Does not accept insurance

  • Offered in 39 states and the District of Columbia

CallOnDoc is a user-friendly platform that offers pediatric services to those ages 2 and up. You can access their platform via desktop or mobile. After you complete a brief questionnaire describing your child’s concern, you can chat with a medical provider either over the phone or via a videoconference. Once you submit a visit request, you’ll usually hear back within two hours. 

CallOnDoc treats pediatric concerns such as asthma, sinusitis, and respiratory illnesses, but they won’t treat emergency conditions. Their fee is $40 per visit, and they don’t accept insurance. 

In addition to the ease of accessing their services, we chose them as the most user-friendly because they allow for free follow-up appointments up to two weeks after the initial appointment if your little one wasn’t feeling better. You can also request a summary of the visit be sent to your child’s pediatrician for continuity of care. 

As a drawback, CallOnDoc doesn’t offer services in all states. Exclusions include Indiana, Arkansas, Hawaii, Nevada, and Oregon.

Best for Last-Minute Appointments : PM Pediatrics

PM Pediatrics

PM Pediatrics

Why we chose it: PM Pediatrics was selected as our best for last-minute appointments because it offers visits within 30 minutes or less, and is open every day until midnight.

Pros
  • Appointments available until midnight EST

  • Most visits conducted within 30 minutes

  • Accepts many major insurance plans

Cons
  • Available in 14 states and the District of Columbia

PM Pediatrics offers desktop and app-based access to pediatricians from 8 a.m. to midnight EST 365 days a year. The company accepts many major insurance plans, including BlueCross BlueShield (plans vary by state), Anthem, Aetna, Cigna, and UnitedHealthcare. You will pay a $25 co-payment for most commercially accepted insurance plans. If you do not have insurance or your insurance isn’t on their accepted list, the flat fee is $65.

Pediatricians with PM Pediatrics will see babies and older children for health concerns such as flu, pink eye, stomachache, rashes, and more. According to the company’s website, once you request a visit with a practice, most appointments are conducted within 30 minutes. E-prescriptions are available as well. 

PM Pediatrics is not available in all states, although they are working on expanding their telemedicine offerings. They offer pediatric care to those in Alaska, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. The company has brick-and-mortar locations throughout the United States, so you can easily get a referral or testing appointment should your child require one through their online platform. For example, pediatricians can refer your child for an X-ray or a rapid COVID-19 test at their locations.

Best for Behavioral Health Conditions : MDLive

MDLive

MDLive

Why we chose it: MDLive was selected as our best for behavioral health conditions because the platform offers comprehensive telemedicine services, including to those older than age 10 in need of behavioral health care.

Pros
  • Access behavioral health providers anywhere in the United States

  • Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

  • Accepts insurance and self-pay

Cons
  • Mental health services limited to those older than age 10

  • Does not treat moderate to severe autism spectrum disorders; active hallucinations; or prescriptions of stimulant medications for ADHD

MDLive is a telemedicine platform that provides general pediatric care and behavioral health for those older than age 10. You can sign up for their platform (available via desktop and app) for free and enter information about your child and their needs. The platform will give you a list of doctors who are immediately available or you can select one to make an appointment with. 

MDLive does accept some insurance policies. If you don't have or would prefer not to use insurance, the cost may be up to $284 for an initial visit and $108 for a follow-up for psychiatry-specific visits. General health visits to MDLive are usually about $82 before insurance. 

We also liked that MDLive is very upfront about behavioral health conditions they don’t treat (so you won’t waste your time or funds). Their behavioral health experts don’t treat emergency situations (such as threats of self-harm), active hallucinations, or moderate to severe autism spectrum disorders. They can prescribe some medications for ADHD treatment, with controlled substances (stimulants) being an exception. 

However, they do treat conditions such as grief, anxiety, depression, trauma, panic disorders, stress management, and more. The ability to help your child confidentially for behavioral health treatments can be anxiety-relieving for parents as well.

Best for Insured Patients : Teladoc

Teladoc

  Teladoc

Why we chose it: Teladoc was selected as our best for insured because it accepts most major insurance policies, including many Medicare and Medicaid plans.

Pros
  • Accepts most major insurances, including Medicare Advantage and Medicaid-managed plans with limited exceptions

  • You’ll find out immediately after creating your profile if Teladoc accepts your insurance plan and most services cost $0

  • Provides 24/7 support via phone, desktop, or app

Cons
  • Does not accept Medicare or Medicaid fee-for-service (FFS) plans

  • Must create a profile before ensuring Teladoc accepts your insurance plan

To get started, you’ll use the app or desktop-based service to set up an account. We also liked that you can call 1-800-Teladoc if you don’t have immediate access to these or prefer to use the phone. You’re then prompted to fill out a brief medical history for the pediatrician to review prior to the appointment. If you choose to see a doctor right away, you’ll be placed in a “waiting room” until the next available pediatrician can see you. 

With insurance, most general medical appointments have no cost. If you don’t have insurance, the fee is $75. Teladoc accepts most major insurance policies (Aetna, Cigna, BlueCross BlueShield, and UnitedHealthcare) and many Medicare Advantage and Medicaid-managed plans. However, they do not participate in Medicare or Medicaid fee-for-service plans. 

Teladoc pediatricians care for those ages 2 and up. Teladoc physicians are licensed in all 50 states, board-certified in their fields and the service is available around-the-clock. The service also has a “Global Care” program so you can get care while traveling. 

Best Membership Service : SteadyMD

SteadyMD

SteadyMD

Why we chose it: SteadyMD was selected as our best membership service because it is a membership-based service that offers continuity of care for preventive and urgent medical needs.

Pros
  • Establish a physician-patient relationship with a doctor for years to come

  • Can coordinate with your child’s in-person pediatrician

  • Limited number of child spots per pediatrician for enhanced availability

Cons
  • You must manually submit a claim if you wish to use HSA, FSA, MSA, or HRA account funds

  • Doctors will not prescribe medications for those ages 0 to 2 years old

While some online platforms are testing out the membership concept, SteadyMD seems to have the most robust platform and pediatric care plan. Their premise is quite different from many others on our list. Instead of a one-time visit, you establish a doctor-patient relationship with a pediatrician so they are your online “medical home.” In this way, the service is membership-based with a cost of $69 per month for an individual child. Once you sign up for a month, you may cancel at any time. 

The membership service limits the number of children per pediatrician, so ideally, your child’s pediatrician is readily accessible. You can securely text the pediatrician at any time using your child’s patient portal. They provide age-appropriate preventive and urgent medical care for ages 0 to 18, though pediatricians will not prescribe medications to children under age 2.

At $69 per month, the cost is less than traditional “concierge” doctors who may charge thousands per year. However, SteadyMD’s doctors are virtual instead of in-person. The service does not accept insurance or health savings and similar-type accounts. You can, however, file with these types of accounts if you wish to be reimbursed.

Best App-Based Service : K for Parents

K for Parents

K for Parents

Why we chose it: K for Parents was selected as our best app-based service because it's app provides low-cost consultations with a pediatrician for a number of health concerns.

Pros
  • App allows you to chat with a pediatrician during operating hours

  • Membership plan provides unlimited access for $9 a month

Cons
  • Pediatricians do not treat children under age 3

  • Do not treat ear infections, strep throat, or COVID-19 cases

K for Parents is a low-cost, app-based service, available for iOS and Android, that allows parents to access pediatric care from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The app starts by asking information about the child and their symptoms and has a diagnostic algorithm that gives you some likely causes (this part is free to use). 

If you want more information or a prescription is required, you can opt to speak with a pediatrician via the app. The pediatricians are all board-certified. A one-time visit costs $19, and you can also subscribe to the app for $9 a month for unlimited access. 

While K for Parents pediatricians don’t treat conditions like ear infections or strep throat (they require in-person exams for these conditions), they do treat conditions such as allergies, rashes, asthma, diarrhea, and pink eye. They also don’t treat children under age 3. 

You can use the app in any state, but the option to speak live with a pediatrician or get a prescription varies by state. K for Parents doesn’t list the states that do and don’t allow visits or prescriptions, so you’ll have to enter your information to find out.

Final Verdict 

The best online pediatricians provide medical services on-demand and usually around-the-clock. Your choice of service may vary based on insurance accepted, price, and provider. Because service availability can vary from state to state, make sure you read any fine print before issuing payment.

While choosing a pediatrician is a personal choice, we chose Amwell for Pediatrics as our best overall because of their multitude of services, low visit cost, and the ability to accept insurance.

Compare Providers

Best Online Pediatricians
Site Why We Picked It Costs
Amwell for Pediatrics Best Overall  $79 per visit, accepts insurance
Sesame  Best Budget $30 per visit 
CallOnDoc Best for User Friendliness $40 per visit 
PM Pediatrics  Best for Last-Minute Appointments $65 without insurance, $25
co-payment with insurance 
MDLive Best for Mental Health Conditions $284 for initial behavioral health consultations, $108 for follow-ups
Teladoc Best for Insured Patients $0 with most insurance, $75 for uninsured 
SteadyMD Best Membership Service $69 per month for unlimited pediatric visits 
K for Parents  Best App-Based Service $19 per single visit or unlimited visits with $9 per month subscription 

FAQs 

How Do Online Pediatricians Differ From In-Office? 

Online pediatricians provide an option to quickly see a pediatrician from the comfort of your own home. If you live some distance away from your pediatrician, an online appointment can be an especially beneficial and time-saving option.  

In 2016, parents and their children made an estimated 24,409 telemedicine visits, according to an article in the journal Academic Pediatrics.  The most common reasons for these telemedicine visits included:

  • Nose/sinus infections (24 percent)
  • Mouth/throat infections (16 percent)
  • Ear infections (9 percent) 

Coincidentally, these are also the most common diagnoses when a parent takes a child to their in-person pediatrician

While online and in-person pediatricians may treat similar conditions, there are some limitations for online pediatricians. This includes the ability to listen to a heartbeat or lung sounds as well as perform any other physical examinations beyond problems that are immediately visible. For example, a doctor can’t use an otoscope to look into a young person’s ear when it’s hurting. For this reason, an online pediatrician may not be able to diagnose all conditions through an online visit alone. 

How Much Does It Cost to See an Online Pediatrician? 

Costs can vary based on several factors: 

  • Insurance: If your online pediatrician accepts insurance, you may have to pay a copayment or nothing at all. 
  • Services: Some sites may charge more to issue prescriptions, for longer visits, or for specialty services like mental health care. 
  • Provider: Sites may charge based on provider experience and credentials. 

Our research found fees ranged from $0 through insurance to upwards of nearly $300 for specialty visits. Costs truly depend on the site. 


Are Appointments Available On-Demand? 

The availability of on-demand appointments depends upon the site and provider. Some sites will offer on-demand appointments with the next available pediatrician while others will ask you to schedule with a provider. 

Are There Any Conditions Pediatricians Won’t Treat Online? 

Each online pediatrician provider site may have a list of conditions and patient ages they will not treat online. Carefully review a site’s policies before proceeding to ensure your provider of choice will see your child. As a general rule, a pediatrician will not see a child online for any conditions that could be emergent such as difficulty breathing or severe bleeding. You should call 911 or take your child to the emergency department for these situations. 

Also, some organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Telemedicine Association, don’t recommend using online direct-to-consumer services when a child is under age 2. An exception is if the online provider is part of a child’s “medical home” which means that a child has seen this provider in person and is more familiar with the child’s health history. Otherwise, a child under age 2 may require more thorough assessment and weighing to ensure pediatric dosages are correct, which is difficult to perform with telemedicine. 


Do Online Pediatricians Accept Insurance? 

Some online pediatricians do accept insurance which requires them to contract with insurance providers in advance. Many will list their payment policies and requirements on their website. Some will offer a discounted rate for those who do not have insurance while others will not accept insurance and charge a flat fee for services. 

The costs will vary based on the website and sometimes the duration of the visit or reason you are seeing the pediatrician. 

Can Online Pediatricians Prescribe Medication? 

Online pediatricians can prescribe medication, but this may be dependent upon the medical condition, platform, and your state’s laws. A common example of a medication class pediatricians prescribe through telemedicine is antibiotics. In a study published in the journal Pediatrics, online pediatricians prescribed antibiotics for suspected acute respiratory infections 52 percent of the time. 

If a pediatrician does prescribe medications, they will likely directly submit the prescription to your pharmacy of choice. Once the pharmacy receives the prescription, you can utilize insurance if you choose or pay out-of-pocket for the medication. 

How We Chose The Best Online Pediatricians

Reviewing online pediatricians was weighed heavily with criteria including availability of board-certified pediatricians, ease of accessing the platform, treatment for a wide age range, and upfront payment terms. We also considered patient education, whether the site offers continuity services (such as follow-up appointments or messages to existing providers), and explanations of how your data is kept private. Preferences were given to sites that offer around-the-clock access and immediate access to providers in addition to the ability to make an appointment.

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Article Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Science Direct. Use of Commercial Direct-to-Consumer Telemedicine by Children. January 28, 2021.

  3. Pediatrics.org. Antibiotic Prescribing During Pediatric Direct-to-Consumer Telemedicine Visits. January 28, 2021.