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Online therapy may be more convenient for people who cannot travel to a local professional. We discuss the seven best online therapy platforms that take insurance, including our experience using Cerebral.

Online therapy is a remote mental health service that takes place via video or phone calls, texting, or live chat. Recent research suggests that online therapy is almost as effective as in-person therapy at decreasing psychological distress.

Online therapy without insurance may cost up to $200 per session. Choosing an online therapy platform that takes insurance can reduce this cost significantly.

The following table compares the services in this article by price, type of therapy, session length, and more.

All of the prices in this article refer to the cost of online therapy with insurance coverage.

Type of therapyInsurance coverageCostSession length
Talkspace• individual
• couples
• teen
• psychiatry
• Premera
• Optum
• Blue Cross Blue Shield
$0–$69 per week30–50 minutes
Cerebral• therapy
• medication management
• Anthem
• Blue Cross Blue Shield
• Cigna
• Magellan Health
• United Healthcare
• Optum
from $30 per month45 minutes
Brightside• CBT
• psychiatry
• crisis care
• Aetna
• Anthem
• United Healthcare
from $95 per month15–30 minutes
Doctor On
• coaching
• therapy
• psychiatry
• Medicare Part B
• specific insurers available on sign-up
from $79 per session15–50 minutes
Amwell• psychiatry
• therapy
• Blue Cross Blue Shield
• Optum
• Aetna
• plus 40 others
from $99 per session15–60 minutes
MDLive• talk therapy
• psychiatry
• Regence
• Cigna
• Humana
• Blue Cross Blue Shield
• Independence
• AvMed
from $0 per session, depending on insurance15–60 minutes
• talk therapy
• psychiatry
most major insurance policiesfrom $75 per session45 minutes

Medical News Today has carefully vetted each therapy platform in this article to ensure they do not pose any safety risks to individuals. Learn more about Medical News Today’s strict product selection and vetting process.

The vetting team looked at several factors, such as:

  • Medical accuracy and integrity: Does the company offer transparent information on the coverage it can provide and its standard of care?
  • Best practices: Does the company use licensed healthcare professionals, and is it HIPAA compliant?
  • Indicators of trust: Does the company have third-party regulation and certification of security standards?
  • Reputation: MNT only includes services that have passed our thorough vetting process, have not received any warning letters from the Federal Trade Commission, and have no pending or past lawsuits. We also aim to include brands with high ratings on their Better Business Bureau or Trustpilot pages. However, if brands have passed the criteria above, we may still include brands with lower customer reviews.

Online therapy may not be right for everyone

People with severe mental health conditions and those who pose a risk to themselves, such as those at risk of self-harm or suicide, should not use online therapy.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, a prevention hotline can help. The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is available 24 hours a day at 988. During a crisis, people who are hard of hearing can use their preferred relay service or dial 711 then 988.

Find more links and local resources.

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Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication. Any services reviewed below were tested by Healthline employees, who received free trials from the brands. All opinions are their own.

There are various reasons why a company does not accept insurance. Sometimes, this is due to low reimbursement rates for therapists. This means that insurance companies may not always reimburse a therapist for a client’s copay, reducing the rate they get paid for delivering a session.

Insurance companies may also have a quota for therapists in a particular area. Once they meet this quota, they may not accept new therapists.

Some therapy services may not accept insurance as they already try to keep their costs low. By not accepting insurance as payment, the companies can continue to provide affordable prices. Additionally, many people may consider paying out of pocket for mental health services.

According to BetterHelp, which does not accept insurance, online therapy providers must consider licensing and liability laws and do not collaborate with insurance providers as a result.

The cost of online therapy varies between providers, but it can typically cost up to $200 per session. Psychiatry services are the most expensive as psychiatrists must have a license to prescribe medication.

With insurance, a person may not need to pay anything. There may also only be a small copay payment to make. Some services require an upfront payment, and a person can receive reimbursement from their insurance provider.

The cost for people without insurance differs between plans. For example, some services require individuals to pay a monthly subscription fee, while others operate as a pay-as-you-go service. Individual appointments may cost from $80 per session.

Costs can vary depending on the healthcare professional’s credentials, the state a person resides in, and the type of therapy plan.

People may wish to consider the following when choosing an online therapist:

  • Qualifications: People should ensure that the therapists have a license to practice in their state.
  • Area of expertise: People should ensure that the therapist they choose is knowledgeable in the area they require, such as anxiety, depression, or LGBTQIA+ concerns.
  • Refund policy: People may wish to contact the company to discuss refund policies if, for example, either the person’s or the therapist’s internet connection is too unstable to continue a session.
  • Session length: A person may wish to check the average session length to ensure that they can fit therapy around their daily life and that sessions will be long enough to explore the issues they want to discuss.
  • Ethical concerns: People may wish to read the company’s privacy policy to find out how the company stores its data and how long it stores the data.
  • Cost: People should factor in a service’s per-session or per-month cost to ensure that it fits their budget.

The best way to find out if therapy takes a person’s insurance is to visit the telehealth service’s website. Many services have pages dedicated to answering insurance questions. A good place to check is a company’s frequently asked questions page. However, many companies do not list all the insurance companies they accept.

If a telehealth service does not list a person’s insurance, it is always worth contacting the insurance company directly to check whether it will cover all or part of the cost of using a service. Insurance companies may also be able to provide information about in-network therapists, psychologists, or psychiatrists that people can contact directly.

Does Medicare cover therapy?

Medicare Part B covers part of the cost of several outpatient mental health services, including individual and group psychotherapy, psychiatric evaluation, and medication management.

However, people will still need to pay toward the cost of treatment. After meeting the Part B deductible, people will need to pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for any visits to a healthcare professional. A hospital outpatient clinic or department may also charge a copayment or coinsurance fee.

Other options

Some employers may offer Employee Assistance Programs (EAP). These programs aim to provide services that can help reduce difficulties in a person’s workplace and private life and help prevent future difficulties.

Over 97% of organizations with over 5,000 employees have an EAP, according to research.

Some telehealth services, such as Brightside, work with employers to offer their services to employees. People can contact their employers to see if they offer free or discounted therapy sessions.

Here, we answer some common questions about these services.

Online therapists may be able to prescribe medication, depending on the type of therapist they are and which states they are licensed in. Psychiatrists and psychiatric or mental health nurse practitioners can prescribe medication in all states.

In Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, and New Mexico, trained psychologists can prescribe medication. Each state has different criteria for psychologists who can prescribe medication, but all require that these mental health professionals hold a doctorate, participate in up to 6,000 hours of supervised clinical practice, and pass a national examination.

Yes, Talkspace is a legitimate company that offers online therapy from qualified mental health care professionals. It is a Better Business Bureau (BBB) accredited business with a B rating.

Brightside accepts some health insurance policies, including those from Aetna, Anthem, and United Healthcare.

Sanvello is an app available on the App Store and Google Play. It uses cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness meditation practices to help people with anxiety and depression. Some of Sanvello’s tools are available for free, while others require payment for subscription services.

Yes, some online therapy services take Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance. These include Talkspace, Cerebral, Amwell, and MDLive.

Online therapy can be an effective way to provide mental health care. It offers people greater convenience, lower costs, and a sense of anonymity. Online therapy companies that take insurance offer a variety of treatment options.

However, it is not a complete substitute for in-person treatment and is unsuitable for all people or all mental health conditions.