Doctor Anywhere, WhiteCoat, Speedoc…Can Telemedicine Apps Save Us Money?

speedoc-whitecoat-telemedicine-app-singapore
Image: Mr Bean/Tenor

Opinions about doctors fall firmly in one of two opposing camps. Either you’re a true believer of the power of modern medicine and rush to the clinic at the first sneeze, or you think GPs are quacks and only go because you need an MC.

Whatever it is, I think we can all agree that seeing the doctor in Singapore isn’t cheap. 

But now that there are so many new “telemedicine” apps like Doctor Anywhere, WhiteCoat, etc., can Singaporeans now save money and time on treating common illnesses?

 

Guide to Telemedicine Apps in Singapore (2024)

    1. What are telemedicine apps? 
    2. Overview of telemedicine apps in Singapore
    3. Raffles Connect 
    4. Sata CommHealth
    5. Doctor Anywhere
    6. WhiteCoat
    7. BetterHealth
    8. MaNaDr
    9. Speedoc
    10. Glovida-Rx
    11. Bonus: HiDoc
    12. Bonus: LifeHub+
    13. Recommended credit cards for telemedicine apps
    14. Risks of using telemedicine services 

 

1. What are telemedicine apps?

Telemedicine apps, or “doctor apps”, allow you to consult a real doctor either via video call or a message-based chat. After the consultation and diagnosis, you can get your meds and MC delivered to your home. 

Yeah I know, it’s a little sketchy-sounding, but it’s definitely convenient… If the doctor doesn’t misdiagnose you, that is.

There are tons of telemedicine providers in Singapore—more and more traditional clinics are also pivoting to offer such services.

Of these, we’ll take a closer look at 7 of the more popular ones that are available for regular patients to use for consultations: BetterHealth, Doctor Anywhere, MaNaDr, Raffles Connect (formerly Care), WhiteCoat, Speedoc, and SATA CommHealth

There’s also HiDoc, which is for seeing specialists instead of GPs.

The others fall into different categories. For example, MyDoc is a company-facing employee health benefit programme, so you can’t download the app and get a consultation unless your employer paid for it.

There’s also Rescu.sg, a platform that focusses on on-demand house calls. 

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2. How much do Doctor Anywhere & other apps cost?

Telemedicine app Cost of standard consultation
Raffles Connect (formerly Care) From $22
Sata CommHealth From $15
Doctor Anywhere From $20 
BetterHealth From $20
WhiteCoat From $25
Speedoc From $21.80
MaNaDr From $8.20
Glovida-Rx (online pharmacy) $0 (complimentary medication consultations with pharmacists)
HiDoc (consultation with specialists) From $120

These fees are for the most basic of consultations. In some cases, limits may apply, e.g. 15 minutes, or 5 messages. If you exceed them, you may be charged more. For example, MaNaDr charges $0.60 per additional message and $2.16 per additional minute of video call.

I also did not include the cost of medication because it varies greatly based on your condition.

Based on consultation fees, I would say that apps like Raffles Connect (formerly known as Care) and Sata CommHealth are fairly competitive against “real” clinics.

Of course, it’ll almost certainly be more expensive than going to the polyclinic (where subsidised fees start from $14 per consultation). But you have to brave the endless queues for that.

If you’re going to your neighbourhood GP, that’ll cost more like $25 for the consultation, which is on par with that of the most expensive telemedicine app.

Choosing a telemedicine provider can be tough as there are a lot of subtle differences to consider. I’ll go through each app one by one.

I’ve also included the current credit card promotions (if any) for each one.

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3. Raffles Connect—$22 consultation fee

With Raffles Connect (formerly Care) you can have 24/7 video consultations for $22, which excludes medication costs. 

Its doctors are from reputed healthcare partners, most significantly the Raffles Medical chain of clinics—Raffles Connect is a subsidiary of Raffles Medical Group.

Note that the $22 video consultation is capped at 15 minutes. Should your consultation exceed this time frame, you may have to pay more.

Raffles Connect is also clear on what illnesses can be diagnosed via video. These include only generic things like menstrual cramps, headaches and sore throats. 

Should the doctor realise that your condition cannot be diagnosed on a call, they may advise you to seek alternative treatments or assessments in-person. You may still be charged if the doctor gave you substantial medical advice.

Raffles Connect credit card promotions

None at the moment.

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4. SATA CommHealth—$15 consultation + $6 delivery

One of the cheaper telehealth providers comes from SATA Commhealth, a charitable healthcare organisation in Singapore that is especially concerned about the health and well-being of seniors and vulnerable groups. 

The consultation costs a flat $15 for the public. You may then be given an MC and prescribed medication, or a referral letter to a specialist, which is then delivered to you at $6 per delivery

That means the total cost per “visit” is $21 excluding the cost of medication. Payment can be made by credit card or Paypal.

It’s no surprise the fees are very affordable, considering the nature of the organisation.

Sata CommHealth credit card promotions

None at the moment.

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5. Doctor Anywhere—$20 consultation fee

Doctor Anywhere is one of the first few telemedicine startups in Singapore, and it’s one of the slickest operations. However, it’s not backed by any major healthcare household name (unlike Sata CommHealth and Doctor World).

The premise is similar to that of Raffles Connect: open the app and get connected to an available doctor, who will conduct a video consultation. This costs $20 before GST during standard hours, from 6 a.m. to 8.59 p.m.. Outside of these hours, the consultation price more than doubles to $45.

Should your case be unsuitable for a video consultation, you will be informed and told see a doctor in-person.

Doctor Anywhere also offers a range of specialised care from mental wellness, nutrition and fitness, and chronic disease management. They also offer consultations for niche areas like cardiology, ENT, gastroenterology, and most recently, a virtual lactation consultation service. This service is in partnership with Hegen Lactation Centre (HLC), and gives new parents expert breastfeeding guidance and support. It’s priced at $100 for a 60-minute video consultation with a certified International-Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) from HLC.

Doctor Anywhere credit card promotions

PAssion card holders and DBS/POSB credit card holders get to enjoy these discounts:

Bank card or membership Promotion Validity 
Mastercard
  • $16.80 nett video consultation fee with promo code MCVC
  • $109.90 nett consultation to video consult a certified psychologist or counsellor online with promo code MCMW
PAssion card
  • $16.80 nett video consultation fee with promo code PAGP
  • $109.90 nett consultation to video consult a certified psychologist or counsellor online with promo code PAMW
UOB
  • $16.80 nett video consultation fee with promo code UOBVC
  • $109.90 nett consultation to video consult a certified psychologist or counsellor online with promo code UOBMW

Psst, pro tip: Get the UOB Absolute Cashback Card to make the most of your expenses—yes, even medical ones! This UOB credit card is an all-in, unlimited cashback credit card that even earns you cashback on categories like insurance, school fees, utilities, telco bills, and of course, healthcare.

UOB logo
MoneySmart Exclusive
LUCKY DRAW | 1.7% Unlimited Cashback
Cash Back on Eligible Spend
1.7%
Min. Spend per month
S$0
Cash Back Cap
Unlimited
MoneySmart Exclusive:

[LUCKY DRAW]
Stand a chance to win a Cartier Santos-Dumont Watch - Large Model, Blue (worth S$6,000) or an Apple 11-inch iPad Air WiFi, 128GB (worth S$899) or a Sony PlayStation 5 SLIM Digital Edition (worth S$669) when you apply and spend a min. of S$1,000 in Eligible Transactions each month for the first two consecutive months from the card approval date. T&Cs apply.
 
PLUS get S$350 Cash Credit from UOB when you are the first 200 new-to-UOB credit card customers in July 2024 who successfully apply for an eligible UOB Credit Card and spend a min. of S$1,000 per month for 2 consecutive months from their card approval date. T&Cs apply.

Valid until 11 Aug 2024

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6. MHC BetterHealth—$20 consultation fee, free medicine delivery

BetterHealth is MHC’s 24/7 telemedicine app for patients. Like most other telemedicine services, you have to download the app to use their services.

BetterHealth consultation fees start from $20 before GST. Doctors can diagnose common “non-serious” conditions like flu, cough, cold and the like. As usual, if you’ve got anything funky that the doctor isn’t confident of diagnosing and treating virtually, you’ll be told to consult a medical professional in person.

On top of GP services, BetterHealth also offers counselling and psychology services in the area of mental wellness.

Do note that the $20 consultation fee excludes any weekday night/weekend surcharges, as well as the costs of medication. On the plus side, delivery fees for medication are waived!

BetterHealth credit card promotions

None at the moment.

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7. WhiteCoat—$25 consultation, can prescribe chronic disease meds

WhiteCoat is slightly more sophisticated than the other apps I’ve talked about. While the rest are mainly for healthy folks who caught the cold and want a day off from work, WhiteCoat offers a bit more.

You can get help with more complex needs, like sexual health advice, reviewing lab results and travel medication advice.

But the most interesting service is chronic disease management: WhiteCoat doctors can prescribe medication for diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol, presumably only if you are already diagnosed.

Since the consultation fee is a reasonable $25 (before GST), it’s quite a decent option for those with these common conditions and who are not so mobile. (Thinking of my parents and grandparents here.)

Should you get a prescription, you can choose to buy the medication directly from WhiteCoat and get it delivered at an extra fee. 

Note that the $25 consultation fee is only for their office hours (8 a.m. to 7.59 p.m. from Mon to Sat). For after-hours consultation (8 p.m. to midnight from Mon to Sat; 8 a.m. to midnight on Sun & PH) it costs $35.

WhiteCoat credit card promotions

Bank card or membership Promotion Validity 
UOB UOB Visa Infinite and Privilege Banking Cards: $12.50 consultation fee (office hours) / $17.50 (after office hours)
All other UOB credit cards
$15 consultation fee (office hours) / $25 (after office hours) 

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8. MaNaDr—From $8.20, chat consultation available

MaNaDr is another 24/7 service. It is not so much a consultation app so much as a peer-to-peer app to connect patients to clinics or doctor.

Unlike the other apps, MaNaDr offers the option to chat to your doctor in addition to video calls. This means you can kinda just text your doctor in real-time, and send them photos and videos of your ailments.

The fees for a general MaNaDr consultation start from $8.20. You’ll pay more depending on factors such as:

  • Timing: Peak hour and late-night surcharges may apply.
  • Weekends and public holidays: These also come with surcharges.
  • Provider qualifications: If you consult a healthcare provider with more experience or higher qualifications, you may pay more for their services.

MaNaDr credit card promotions

Bank card or membership Promotion Validity 
DBS/POSB $16 video consultation fee 

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9. Speedoc—$21.80 consultation with free same-day medicine delivery

You may have heard of Speedoc in 2021 when their co-founder, Serene Cai, made the Forbes 30 Under 30 list. Since then, Speedoc has met continued success as a telemedicine app, and remains pretty affordable to this day. That’s really the part we’re most concerned with.

Speedoc’s consultation fees include complimentary same-day medicine delivery, unless your consultation is after 9 p.m., in which case you may only get your meds the following day. Here’s a look at their pricing;

Speedoc teleconsult date and time Consultation fee (includes free medication delivery)
Monday – Friday, 0800 – 1800 $21.80
Monday – Friday, 1800 – 0000 $32.70
Saturday – Sunday, 0800 – 0000 $32.70
Public Holidays $43.60

Speedoc credit card promotions

None at the moment.

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10. Glovida-Rx (Free consultation with a pharmacist)

Glovida-Rx isn’t your run-of-the-mill telemedicine app that offers GP consultations for your flu. It’s actually a Health Sciences Authority (HSA) registered e-pharmacy, dispensing a wide range of Over-The-Counter, pharmacy-only, prescription medications and healthcare products.

Instead of video-calling a GP, you contact accredited pharmacists over WhatsApp—so yes, there’s no need to download a new application. The pharmacist can then advise you and issue the proper medication to you, which you’ll receive conveniently via their complimentary same day delivery service (before 3pm).

If you want further medical advice, you can also choose to request a teleconsult with a doctor.

Glovida-Rx credit card promotions

None at the moment.

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11. Bonus: HiDoc—$120 consultation with a specialist

Okay, so the apps above cover general healthcare needs like common illnesses, post-natal care and chronic diseases. What’s been missing so far is a platform for going to a specialist.

If you’ve ever tried to see a specialist for your condition, you’ll know that it’s either a trying or expensive affair (or both).

For most Singaporeans, the standard route is to go through the polyclinic and get a specialist referral from there. This allows you to benefit from a subsidised rate offered at most hospitals.

However, if you want to seek a second opinion, you will very likely have to walk in as a private patient and be charged a much higher rate. This can cost over $150 for a consultation

HiDoc is an app that offers video consultations with specialists more cheaply, quickly and conveniently. You can choose the specialist you want to see, and the consultation fees for Hidoc are flat—$120 for the initial consultation and $80 subsequently, before GST. 

HiDoc credit card promotions

No current promotions.

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12. Bonus: LifeHub+ (telemedicine + screening + nutrition)

Healthcare can get complicated, especially if you do a consultation with one provider, diagnostic tests with another, and diet plans with yet another. That’s where StarHub’s LifeHub+ comes in.

Integrated with the StarHub app, it’s a one-stop platform for health and wellness services like telemedicine, health screening and nutrition plans. LifeHub+ partners with Speedoc, Nutrition Kitchen, and Doctor Anywhere to bring you these services from trusted providers.

If you’re an existing StarHub customer, just log into your StarHub app with your Hub ID to access LifeHub+. Otherwise, you can also sign up online or download the StarHub app to get started.

LifeHub+ credit card promotions

No current promotions.

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12. Which credit cards should I use for discounts on telemedicine apps?

As you can see, DBS/POSB currently has the most promotions with these telemedicine services. So use one of those cards for an immediate discount.

Otherwise, there aren’t many credit cards that reward you for swiping your medical bills. One is the UOB Absolute Cashback Card, which I mentioned earlier.

UOB logo
MoneySmart Exclusive
LUCKY DRAW | 1.7% Unlimited Cashback
Cash Back on Eligible Spend
1.7%
Min. Spend per month
S$0
Cash Back Cap
Unlimited
MoneySmart Exclusive:

[LUCKY DRAW]
Stand a chance to win a Cartier Santos-Dumont Watch - Large Model, Blue (worth S$6,000) or an Apple 11-inch iPad Air WiFi, 128GB (worth S$899) or a Sony PlayStation 5 SLIM Digital Edition (worth S$669) when you apply and spend a min. of S$1,000 in Eligible Transactions each month for the first two consecutive months from the card approval date. T&Cs apply.
 
PLUS get S$350 Cash Credit from UOB when you are the first 200 new-to-UOB credit card customers in July 2024 who successfully apply for an eligible UOB Credit Card and spend a min. of S$1,000 per month for 2 consecutive months from their card approval date. T&Cs apply.

Valid until 11 Aug 2024

Otherwise, you can try taking advantage of a loophole by using an online shopping credit card. Technically, “online” is not an MCC, so you should get rewarded for all transactions made online, regardless of the nature of the business.

(Unless it’s explicitly stated in the terms and conditions that only a fixed few categories are eligible (like fashion, groceries, etc) or that medical expenses are excluded.)

A popular card for online shopping is the Citi Rewards Card, which gives you 10X rewards ($1 = 4 miles) for all online spending, except travel.

Citibank logo
MoneySmart Exclusive
REWARDS RUSH HOUR FLASH DEAL
on Online & Shopping Purchases
S$1= 10X Points
for all other purchases
S$1= 1X Point
Rewards Conversion
10X Points = 4 Miles
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[REWARDS RUSH HOUR | FASTEST GIFT FULFILMENT]
Get UPSIZED CASH REWARDS of S$430* or 5,040 SmartPoints + S$80 Trip.com Coupon, in as fast as 4 weeks from meeting the S$500 spend criteria! T&Cs apply.
 
For a limited time, get additional Rewards Rush Hour gifts ON TOP of your baseline gift when you meet the flash deal criteria!

  • Apple Watch Series 9 (GPS), 41mm (worth S$604.50) or
  • Apple 10.9-inch iPad (10th Gen), 64GB (worth S$529) or
  • Sony PlayStation®5 (SLIM) Digital Edition (worth S$669)

 
Use 5,040 SmartPoints to fully redeem a product from our Rewards Store. If the product costs more, redeem with your points and top up the rest by purchasing additional SmartPoints e.g. get an Apple 10.9-inch iPad Wi‑Fi 64GB (10th Generation) at only S$110 on top of your earned SmartPoints.

Valid until 23 Jul 2024

Since DBS/POSB has the most promotions at the moment, you can consider the DBS Live Fresh Card too, which gives you 5% cash back for all online expenses.

DBS logo
Online Promo
Shopping and Transportation
on Shopping & Transport Spend
Up to 6% Cashback
Min. Spend
S$800
Cashback Cap
Up to S$70

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13. Telemedicine apps might save time & money, but…

The consultation fees of Doctor Anywhere and other telemedicine apps are attractive, but not dramatically cheaper than the rates at private GPs. 

However, how much you’ll end up spending is hard to predict, because it depends a lot on your medication. You might be prescribed whatever pricey medicine the doctor wants to push.

But the main draw for me would be the time savings. I understand that there is some waiting time before you can start a video consultation, but at least you can lie in bed comfortably. That’s infinitely preferable to the purgatory that is the clinic waiting room.

A least in theory, these apps can save you both money and time. 

… So what could possibly go wrong?

 

Risk #1: Misdiagnosis

One is the chance of misdiagnosis due to the limitations of technology. 

I don’t care how many lenses your iPhone has. As far as I know, Silicon Valley’s PiperChat isn’t yet a real thing, so internet video chats are still pretty bad quality compared to, you know, being looked at in real life.

What if you have other symptoms that are too subtle to be detected? You know, things like the smell of your breath during the “aah” test, that kind of thing. I know that the doctor is supposed to evaluate whether you’re even suitable for a video consultation, but still…

If you’re misdiagnosed, it might result in added costs as you try to backtrack and get a second opinion or re-diagnosis.

 

Risk #2: Employer does not recognise MC

I probably won’t have this problem since I work in a startup—we can hardly discredit a fellow startup’s credibility, can we?—but I imagine that presenting an “electronic MC” might not go down so smoothly with some employers.

Actually, the government has been trying to push for digital MCs. You can now get a digital MC from government hospitals and polyclinics. This takes the form of a customised URL, which can be forwarded to your company’s HR department.

However, I very much doubt that an MC issued by some unheard-of app can have the same effect as one with a Ministry of Health stamp on it.

So before opting for a video e-consultation, it’s best to check with your HR team to see if this is acceptable.

But if the telemedicine industry takes off, then this should be less of a problem in the future. Just think of how difficult it used to be to claim Grab and Uber (RIP) receipts years ago. The times, they are a-changin’.

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