Navigating life with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is enough of a challenge already; accessing services for treatment shouldn’t be difficult.
And yet, obtaining an ADHD diagnosis as an adult is often a frustrating and time-consuming process. Getting an appropriate prescription medication, even more so. In fact, one of my favorite ADHD content creators, Jessica McCabe, gets vulnerable as she talks about How ADHD Treatment is not ADHD-Friendly. I found her story heartbreakingly similar to my own, and to that of countless coaching clients I’ve had over the years.
Fortunately, several new companies have been trying to meet the need for accessible and affordable ADHD diagnosis and treatment. If you're considering seeking ADHD medication for yourself or someone you know who has ADHD, this post is for you. I’ll compare some of the options to give you a place to start.
Adult ADHD Diagnosis and Medication: Top 5 Virtual Rx Services
Let’s dive right in with a quick description of each service.
($199 for 1st month, $79/mo afterward)
Pros: may be covered by insurance, 24/7 support, automatic refills, accepts FSA/HSA, offers delivery of medication, may be a more LGBTQ-friendly option
Cons: High initial investment, subscription cost doesn’t include medication cost, some info is mildly misleading, only offers medication - therapy is via referral, if needed
On the home page, you’re greeted with the promising message, “ADHD shouldn't be this hard. Online treatment made just for YOU.”
They say accessing services is a quick, 3-step process, requiring only a 1-minute assessment, then a 30-min appointment, before gaining access to “online visits, worry-free refills, 24/7 care with clinicians and care team.”
I took their 1-minute assessment myself, out of curiosity, and was pleased to see some gender-affirming language. After just a few questions, you have to enter your phone number for a verification code, then fill in your name and zip code to see if they have a provider in your area. Assuming they do, you’re directed to a calendar to select an appointment time.
They require you to fill out a much more detailed questionnaire before your appointment - making the 1-minute assessment statement just a bit misleading. And, while their home page stated appointments are typically available same-day, or the next day, the first available appointment I was shown was about a week out. Still, a week is MUCH better than the typical wait time in my area for a traditional in-office appointment - which ranges from 3-6 months.
($179 assessment, $169/follow-ups, $99/session therapy)
Pros: Offers diagnosis, medication, and therapy; FSA/HSA eligible; costs may be reimbursable by insurance; offers Klarna to break fees into more manageable payments; site is easy to navigate; no subscription required
Cons: Higher ongoing costs, high initial investment, assessment is required even if previously diagnosed, not available in all US states, doesn’t accept insurance directly
One of the older services out there, ADHD Online claims to have “streamlined the process of ADHD diagnosis and treatment so that you can get the care you deserve.” Like Done, they promise a quick and easy 3-step process. Their timeline seems more realistic - three days to get assessment results, and seven to get your appointment and medication.
Overall I found ADHD Online’s site easy to navigate, and their FAQs were extensive, so I was able to find the answers to just about every question I had before signing up for anything.
The initial cost is a bit steep in comparison to some of the other services at $179 for the assessment, and $169 for the visit with the doctor–a total of $348. However, I appreciated the option to use Klarna to make payment a little more manageable. And, since there’s no subscription, the overall costs may be lower over a longer period of time, assuming you only need to meet with the doctor every few months or less.
($149 assessment, $59/follow-ups, $25/refills)
Pros: FSA/HSA eligible; costs may be reimbursable by insurance; also offers treatment for anxiety, depression, and insomnia
Cons: Not available in all states, doesn’t directly accept insurance, medication management only (no therapy options)
Klarity simply describes itself as “Online Psychiatry, Built With You In Mind,” and boasts access to “the best private practitioners in the country.” Their mission? “to make professional mental health diagnosis and treatment accessible and affordable to everyone.” Sounds pretty good to me.
The Klarity patient journey is also presented in three steps (I’m noticing a theme, here), though interestingly, they have two options: “I need treatment,” and “I need diagnosis,” which really don’t differ much; “I need treatment” just leaves out the evaluation report, making the third step attending follow-up visits.
You start by completing a free self-evaluation, or by clicking on “find a provider.” Answer a few questions about your current and past mental and physical health, and they’ll connect you with a provider. Like Done, Klarity says appointments are often available the same day, or next day. I was unable to verify this, unfortunately, because they don’t currently have providers in my state - they had me sign up on their waitlist, instead.
Klarity’s pricing model is similar to ADHD Online, in that you aren’t required to sign up for a monthly subscription. Instead, their pricing is a slightly more affordable $149 for the initial visit, then $59 for follow-ups, and $25 for refills (this covers their work in submitting the refill request to the pharmacy; you have to pay for meds directly at your pharmacy).
($30/mo subscription, plus insurance copayment/deductibles)
Pros: may be covered by insurance; if not covered directly, may be reimbursable; also treats anxiety, depression, insomnia, bipolar disorder, PTSD, and alcohol use disorder; offers both medication and therapy
Cons: not available in all states, does not prescribe stimulants for ADHD, does not prescribe controlled substances for other conditions, doesn’t accept medicaid/medicare part B clients
Assuming you don’t require medications that are considered controlled substances (yep, no stimulant medications for ADHD, unfortunately), Cerebral is a nicely comprehensive mental health service. They offer three different plans, depending on what you need: Medication + Care Management ($99/mo), Medication + Therapy ($365/mo), or Therapy only ($295/mo).
The pricing is via a subscription model, so you can expect to pay every month until you cancel. If you opt for a plan with therapy, the sessions are weekly, so just under $75 each, which is a reasonable amount for private pay (most therapists charge $120-200/hour, without insurance). Currently, there is a 50% discount on the first month.
Once you create your account, a quick assessment gives you an idea of what you’re struggling with (my results were Moderate Insomnia, which I would have rated severe, and Moderate Depression, which I would have rated mild; as a reminder, never take any online assessment at face value).
Next, you’re asked to choose a subscription plan–though, when you click that, it takes you to another short series of questions first, this time on previous diagnoses and conditions. Answer those, choose a subscription plan, pay, and finally, you’re able to set an appointment.
($45-55/month, includes virtual visit & meds)
*Pros: Offers treatment for ***a wide range of mental and physical health conditions; more affordable than most other options; can have meds delivered; HSA and FSA-eligible; No membership fees, available in all states
Cons: doesn’t prescribe stimulants, doesn’t directly accept insurance, only offers medication (no therapy options)
I actually hadn’t heard of RedBoxRx before writing this article. It’s not ADHD-focused; RedBoxRx offers treatment of numerous mental and physical health conditions and symptoms, and even primary care. They describe themselves as “Personalized healthcare you can feel good about.”
Like Cerebral, they don’t prescribe controlled substances, so you won’t be able to get stimulants for ADHD. But if you’re open to non-stimulant meds, and they work for you, RedBoxRx seems like a decently-priced subscription service–though pricing is a little bit confusing. At the top of the page they offer anxiety and depression consultation for $25. Scroll down and there’s an offer of $49 for a short-term med refill. It took some digging to find the monthly subscription price of $45-55/month.
One potential bonus of RedboxRx is medication cost. Since they don’t offer stimulants for ADHD, and that’s what I take, I looked up my depression meds instead, and discovered that I could get mine through the RedboxRx pharmacy for about $20 less per month. Of course, that $20 goes right back to them with the monthly subscription fee - but if I were getting all of my meds and all my conditions treated through them, the savings would probably be worth it.
Virtual ADHD Treatment Options: Summary
Virtual healthcare is a rapidly-expanding industry, and I expect more services to pop up in the coming years. So, if you don’t see one you like now, you can always go the traditional route - typically, that means finding a psychiatrist in your insurance network who has experience with ADHD, though occasionally primary care providers are willing to treat it. CHADD has a decent article with more info on finding a provider here.
Personally, after investigating the options at Done, ADHD Online, Klarity, Cerebral, and RedBoxRx, there was really no clear winner for me. Initially, I was drawn to Klarity - however, they don’t have providers in my state.
Ultimately, which service is best for you is going to be a deeply personal decision. Hopefully, though, this article gives you a sense of where to begin (or continue) your search.
In the meantime, Shimmer is here to support you with affordable 1-on-1 virtual ADHD coaching. If you need some extra accountability, someone to vent to or answer questions about ADHD, or someone to help you clarify and work toward your goals, check it out!