PlushCare Telehealth Review: Is It Worth the Membership Fee?

$15 a month buys access to same-day telehealth appointments

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PlushCare is a virtual health company that offers general and preventative care, urgent care, prescription refills, therapy, and more. It’s easy to use and features an affordable (but optional) membership plan. Members get access to online booking, same-day, appointments, and unlimited messaging within the app. This platform is a great option for those seeking online prescriptions and quality primary care with a fast turnaround time, but we wouldn’t recommend it for therapy due to the higher cost and limitations of service.

Pros and Cons

  • General telehealth and prescribing available in all 50 states

  • Insurance accepted for appointments and prescriptions

  • Offers prescriptions, general health visits, and urgent care

  • Online therapy available in 44 states for ages 18+

  • Membership is available, but not required

  • 30-day trial offered for membership

  • One membership can include up to five adults and all children

  • Discounts for veterans and military service members

  • Members get unlimited messaging with their care team

  • Automatic enrollment in membership at online sign-up

  • Non-members can only book appointments via phone call

  • Only sends prescriptions to local pharmacy, except some mental health meds

  • Urgent care only available in 17 states

  • Cannot contact therapist outside of sessions

  • No messaging-only option for therapy

  • No subscription option for online therapy

  • Insurance not accepted for online therapy

Since the pandemic, virtual healthcare has become increasingly popular. Medical emergencies require in-person care, but online doctors can help save time and money for common health conditions such as colds, flu, migraines, urinary tract infections (UTIs), ear infections, pink eye, and other concerns. And studies show both patients and providers are satisfied with their telehealth experiences. Some patients even prefer virtual over in-person visits and many clinicians find telehealth more efficient.

That’s why PlushCare caught our eye: it is a telemedicine company that provides a variety of health care services remotely, including virtual primary care, online prescriptions, urgent care services, and mental health services, including online therapy and psychiatry. It is also URAC accredited, which means that it meets regulatory requirements and national standards for quality and safety in health care.

So we evaluated PlushCare’s online services, compared it to other popular telehealth companies, and spoke to experts and customers to help you determine whether PlushCare is right for you.

What is PlushCare?

PlushCare is a nationwide telehealth platform that was founded in 2015 by Dr. James Wantuck and Ryan McQuaid as a way to modernize the healthcare system by providing quality, affordable care in a more accessible way. Then in 2021, it was acquired by Accolade, a health tech company that shares a similar goal of providing high-quality, personalized healthcare. 

Since then, its mission has remained the same: “to help everyone live a longer, healthier, and happier life.”  

PlushCare operates on an optional membership-based model: For a $15 monthly or $99 annual fee, membership allows you to schedule visits online or through the mobile app and access same-day virtual doctor’s appointments seven days a week. 

Customer service is available 24/7 via phone (1-800-221-5140) or email Limited access to PlushCare’s services is available without a membership by calling customer service. Without a membership, calling customer service is the only way to make appointments.

What Services Does PlushCare Offer? 

PlushCare is a one-stop-shop platform that offers same-day medical appointments, general and preventative care, urgent care, prescriptions, and online therapy.  

While it does offer a variety of services, medical care is the company’s primary focus. That’s why it offers general and preventative services to patients of all ages in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. The rest of its services are not offered nationwide:

  • Online therapy isonly available in 44 states for patients 18 years of age and older
  • Urgent care appointments are only offered in 17 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.

General Telehealth Services

At PlushCare, you can get routine wellness checkups, as well as treatment and prescriptions for chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, hair loss, and migraine. 

All of its doctors are board-certified and selected from the top 50 medical institutions in the U.S. While the doctors can’t provide a physical exam, they can provide an annual wellness checkup. They can also order lab work or offer referrals for X-rays and other procedures if needed. Lab or other results are typically sent to your PlushCare doctor and discussed during a follow-up appointment. 

This means the doctors can diagnose and treat non-emergency medical issues in patients of all ages, including:

  • Asthma
  • Cold and flu
  • Skin conditions
  • Allergies
  • Sinus infection
  • Strep throat
  • Upper respiratory infections
  • Bronchitis
  • Migraine
  • Back pain
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Weight loss
  • Smoking cessation
  • UTIs

Appointments are available seven days a week and the first visit costs $129 if paying out-of-pocket. For members, follow-up visits cost $99. Non-members pay $129 for every visit. With insurance, you will be charged a copay for appointments and prescriptions. 

PlushCare asserts that members who use insurance typically pay about a $30 copay for doctor’s visits. Not everything can be treated online, so if the doctor decides an in-person examination is necessary, you will get a full refund for your appointment. For urgent care, doctors are available day and night, 24/7, and patients can get an appointment within 15 minutes. 

When we interviewed patients that had used PlushCare’s telehealth services, we found that most patients had an overall positive experience with the service.

The online visits were great. I liked them better than in person. I was able to talk about everything I needed to and the doctor was thorough on questions and recommendations.

Aleyni, 28, a former PlushCare client, says she used the service for a total of seven months because she had a membership through her employer. “I received my health care through my phone whenever I needed it and always had a way to get my prescriptions filled [quickly]. I would definitely use PlushCare again.”

This is ultimately the main benefit of PlushCare’s telehealth services: it’s convenient and accessible. “You can access a licensed healthcare provider and prescriptions within minutes, compared to hours or days at a traditional doctor’s office,” explains Lindsay Modglin, our subject matter expert who has nearly 10 years of clinical nursing experience. That said, you should be aware that these services ultimately cannot fully replace the services you’d receive from your primary care provider or other specialized healthcare services. 

“In many cases, these online consultations are very brief, without much concern for a person’s complete medical history or long-term needs,” explains Modglin. Therefore, it’s important to take this into consideration before using any virtual health service.

Mental Health Services

PlushCare offers online talk therapy sessions and psychiatric medication management. 

Adults 18 and older can also get online therapy with PlushCare. All of PlushCare’s online therapy providers are licensed in the state where they practice and have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher. Therapists are available in 44 states to provide individual counseling. All therapy sessions are 45 -minutes and cost $169 per visit. There is no therapy subscription and insurance is not accepted, so it’s a pricier option compared to similar platforms. Teladoc, for instance, costs $99 per session while MDLIVE is $108 per session.

For psychiatric medications, you can book an appointment with a general healthcare provider to get a prescription. These board-certified physicians can prescribe anti-anxiety medications, antidepressants, sleeping pills, and non-stimulant ADHD medications. The prescription delivery program for mental health medications costs $99 per month (with a discounted rate of $69 for the first month) and includes free home delivery of prescriptions and free follow-up appointments. It’s worth noting that this is only available for certain mental health medications, such as SSRIs and SNRIs, and insurance is not accepted. In addition, the free follow-up visits refer to medication refill appointments, not online therapy sessions.

We had several people test out PlushCare’s online mental health services and our reviewers had a generally positive experience.  

I found my interactions with both therapists to be generally good. In fact, one of the therapists I saw was such a good match that I debated staying on the platform so that I could keep seeing her.

We also surveyed 105 current and former PlushCare online therapy users and 75% of the 105 PlushCare users we surveyed reported overall satisfaction with the company’s mental health services and 85% rated therapist qualifications highly. Of those that had used PlushCare’s psychiatry and medication management services, 66% reported a positive overall experience and 77% rated their prescriber’s bedside manner positively.

Online Prescription Services

At PlushCare, you can request a new prescription or a prescription refill. Outside prescriptions aren’t accepted at PlushCare, so to get any kind of prescription, you will need to have a virtual appointment first. 

The medications PlushCare’s physicians can prescribe include: 

  • Antibiotics 
  • Tamiflu
  • Insulin
  • Erectile dysfunction medications
  • Birth control
  • Hair loss medications
  • Hypertension medications
  • High cholesterol medications
  • PrEP (pre-exposure HIV prophylaxis) and PEP (post-exposure HIV prophylaxis)
  • Non-stimulant mental health medications

PlushCare made it our list of top picks for online birth control providers for people with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and for people with endometriosis. It can prescribe birth control pills or the ring, shot, or patch. It's one of the only online birth control services that provides prescriptions and referrals for-person placement of an intrauterine device (IUD) or implant.

PlushCare also made our list of top picks for online ED medication services.

Any prescriptions, whether new or refill, will be sent electronically to a pharmacy near you for pickup. Home delivery is only available for certain mental health medications. 

Like most other telehealth companies, PlushCare does not prescribe controlled substances, such as Vicodin or Adderall. In addition, there are certain non-controlled medications with a high potential for abuse that doctors on the platform won’t prescribe, such as injectable Haldol and injectable Benadryl.

How Do You Get a Prescription With PlushCare? 

All prescriptions require a virtual doctor’s appointment. If scheduling online, you will click the orange “book appointment” button, which is located on every page of the website. You will then choose whether you are paying with or without insurance. If you have insurance, you will select your insurance provider, while uninsured patients will skip that step. After that, you will choose the state you live in and press “continue.” On the next screen, there will be a list of providers available in your state. In-network providers with same-day appointments will be listed, but you can use the filter to select a different date or out-of-network providers. After choosing your appointment and provider, click “book.” You will then be prompted to create an account, which will automatically enroll you in the membership plan, which is free for the first 30 days.

Using the PlushCare app to make an appointment is equally quick and easy. You will open the app and select “book a doctor’s visit.” Then choose whether the appointment is for you or your child. After that, you will follow the prompts for insurance and location before choosing a provider and appointment slot. You will click “book” and then create a profile. Again, this will automatically enroll you in membership. 

If you don’t want to join the membership program, you must schedule any and all appointments by calling customer service.

Telehealth consultations with PlushCare can be done by phone or video chat and typically last about 15 minutes. 

Plans & Pricing

What Does the PlushCare Membership Offer? 

While membership is not required, it is recommended, particularly for those who plan to use the service for ongoing treatment. Members get a number of benefits, including:

  • Same-day appointments seven days a week
  • Website and app scheduling (non-members must call to schedule appointments)
  • Unlimited messaging with your care team
  • Discounts on all follow-up visits
  • Prescription discount card
  • Discounted lab tests
  • Free family memberships (for up to 5 adults and all children)

There are two membership payment options:

  • Annual membership – $99 per year, billed annually
  • Monthly membership – $15 per month, billed monthly

PlushCare also offers a free, 30-day membership trial. When booking your first appointment, you will automatically be enrolled in the membership program, which is free for 30 days and can be canceled at any time.

The membership program is flexible, affordable, and straightforward and one of the biggest downsides to PlushCare is the lack of a similar option for mental health.

The prescription discount card can save up to 80% at 50,000+ pharmacies across the country whether you use insurance or pay out-of-pocket.

Does PlushCare Take Insurance, Accept HSA/FSA, or Offer Discounts? 

Yes, insurance is accepted for general health, prescribing, and urgent care services. Insurance can cover both the cost of appointments and prescriptions, but not membership fees. PlushCare accepts a number of popular insurance plans, including Anthem, Cigna, and United Healthcare. You can also use health savings account (HSA) or flexible spending account (FSA) funds to pay for your visit, however, membership fees can only be paid by credit or debit card. 

There is a discount for veterans and active military of $49 per visit.

PlushCare does not accept insurance for online therapy, but you can request a receipt for reimbursement through your HSA or FSA. Therapy services are not part of the membership program and will cost $169 per session.

Privacy Policies at Plush Care 

PlushCare is HIPAA-compliant, which means your personal information is never shared without consent. As a telehealth provider, personal and medical information is collected, but the company has security measures in place to ensure sensitive information is protected, including a secure firewall, the use of a security infrastructure, and data encryption. Information is never sold or disclosed to any unaffiliated third parties.

While PlushCare has not had any security issues or data breaches, it’s important to note that there are always security risks when using an internet-based service.

Customer Satisfaction 

One thing that stands out about PlushCare is the quality of care provided. This was a common theme for all three PlushCare customers we interviewed. All three of them used the service for general health or prescriptions and noted that it was easy to sign up and use, and they all also praised the quality of care they received during their virtual appointments.

For example, we spoke with one current customer who works as a home health provider. She noted that the platform is convenient, easy to use, and provides excellent care. 

I have recommended PlushCare to several clients, and they have all had positive experiences as well. It's a great option for those who need medical attention but may not have the time or ability to visit a traditional doctor's office.

Another patient, Cathy, 58, used the service for weight loss prescriptions but only kept her membership for two months. Still, she told us the sign-up process was quick and easy, as was choosing a doctor. She said the online visit was “better than expected” and that the doctor asked in-depth questions and offered clear explanations of blood work results. Overall, she found it comparable to an in-person visit with her primary care provider. 

However, the process of getting the prescription wasn’t quite so easy for Cathy. 

“Most insurance providers require a pre-authorization for this type of medication. My insurance company called for a solid week to try and get a live person. I did the same, I called, I emailed, I tweeted, and I have yet to speak to anyone outside the prescribing doctor.”

She was eventually able to get the notes she needed for her insurance company, but the entire process took over two weeks. Based on that, she wouldn’t use PlushCare again. 

Still, she told me that she was able to cancel her subscription easily online. 

We also found users to generally be satisfied with PlushCare’s mental health services. Of the 105 users that had tried online therapy at PlushCare:

  • 81% of users we surveyed said that all or most of their needs were met by their therapist,
  • 84% said the service was better than others they’d tried in the past, 
  • 71% said they would recommend the company to a friend

PlushCare vs. Competitors 

In our research, PlushCare had two main competitors: Sesame and Lemonaid Health.

Like PlushCare, Sesame is a well-rounded telehealth platform with primary care visits, online therapy, same-day appointments, and prescription services available. Sesame also offers a similar membership plan, Sesame Plus. Membership is optional and costs $11 per month or $99 per year. Members get $20 discounts on all telehealth visits and one free lab or blood test per year. However, unlike PlushCare, insurance is not accepted. In addition, pricing is less straightforward. Telehealth appointments will vary in cost based on the provider, location, and type of service—from $40 to over $100 without membership—but are generally less expensive than the out-of-pocket cost at PlushCare.

Sesame’s main feature is its vast library of $5 per month generic prescriptions, which can be shipped to your home for free. Besides certain mental health medications, PlushCare does not ship prescriptions directly to your home, and its prescription prices range in cost, though you can use insurance to cover those costs.

Lemonaid Health, meanwhile, offers affordable online pharmacy services. Prescriptions for birth control, erectile dysfunction, hair loss, acne, migraine, and more are available with an online consultation. Consultations are $25, not including the cost of medication, and prescriptions are shipped directly to you for free. Lemonaid also offers ongoing mental health and preventative care. Primary care plans cost $99 per month for individuals and $178 per month for families and include unlimited virtual healthcare visits. Appointments are available within two days and can be done by phone, text, or video. Insurance is not accepted and patients must be at least 18 years old.

If you’re looking for birth control or ED treatment, Lemonaid Health may be a better option. Sesame or PlushCare are better for primary care. Both platforms have flexible membership and same-day appointments, but for those without insurance, Sesame offers a more affordable way to access virtual urgent care and generic prescriptions. For those who have insurance, however, PlushCare is likely the best choice.

Final Thoughts

Overall, PlushCare is a solid choice for anyone looking for comprehensive virtual care. It offers a variety of telehealth services and high-quality care at a cost-effective price, especially for those with insurance coverage. Membership isn’t required, but it definitely enhances the user experience as members can schedule same-day appointments online or through the app. The free 30-day trial is also a major plus factor.

However, the prescription delivery program is expensive and only available for certain mental health medications. The online therapy service is also on the pricier side and there is no way to directly contact therapists outside of the appointments.

Therefore, while I would recommend PlushCare for general health and urgent care, it wouldn’t be my top choice for therapy, mental health medication, or birth control.   

Why Trust Us? 

To create this review, we researched PlushCare’s history, services, prices, and policies in depth, taking into consideration factors that are important to shoppers, such as cost, quality of service, value for money, ease of use, timeliness, and insurance acceptance. We also interviewed Lindsay Modglin, a nurse with experience in online pharmacies, to get her expert input on her overall impression of PlushCare and its reliability and quality of service. We interviewed former and current clients of PlushCare to get their honest opinion of the company and its services. We also independently reviewed and tested PlushCare’s mental health services. Finally, we compared PlushCare’s pricing, services, medication selection, and insurance options to its competitors to provide a clear picture of the business.

Key Specs: 

  • Cost: Membership is $15 per month or $99 per year; General health appointments cost $129 for first visit and $99 for follow-ups; Online therapy costs $169 per session
  • Accepts Insurance? Yes
  • Accepts HSA/FSA? Yes
  • Ages Treated: Adults and children
  • Conditions Treated/Medications Provided: General health, urgent care, mental health, online therapy, acne, birth control, ED medications, STI testing and treatment
  • Communication Options: Video, phone, messaging
  • Generics and Brand Names? Both available
  • HIPAA Compliant? Yes
  • Is There an App? Yes
  • Can Transfer Preexisting Prescriptions? No
  • Prescription Shipping Options: Prescriptions are sent to local pharmacy for pickup; optional medication delivery program costs $99 per month and includes free shipping and free follow-up appointments
  • Free Shipping: Yes, with medication delivery program 
  • Availability: General healthcare available in all 50 states + Washington D.C.
  • Billing Cadence: Pay-per-visit; membership can be billed annually or monthly
3 Sources
Verywell Health 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.
  1. Bate NJ, Xu SC, Pacilli M, Roberts LJ, Kimber C, Nataraja RM. Effect of the COVID ‐19 induced phase of massive telehealth uptake on end‐user satisfaction. Intern Med J. 2021;51(2):206-214. doi:10.1111/imj.15222

  2. Donelan K, Barreto EA, Sossong S, et al. Patient and clinician experiences with telehealth for patient follow-up care. Am J Manag Care. 2019;25(1):40-44.

  3. Utilization Review Accreditation Commission. Telehealth accreditation.

By Katie Mannion
Katie Mannion is an Occupational Therapy Assistant and freelance writer. As both a COTA and a writer, she is passionate about helping people improve their health, happiness, and activities of daily living. She has a background in Psychology and frequently writes about mental health, wellness, relationships, and entertainment.