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Online therapy may be more convenient for people who cannot travel to a local professional. We discuss the eight best options for online therapy that takes 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. Research from 2022 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 table below provides a brief look at which therapy platforms a person can consider based on some of the largest health insurance providers in the U.S. New customers should always check with their chosen therapy platform and health insurance provider to confirm they have coverage.

People can only see which insurance Doctor on Demand takes during registration.

Insurance providerTherapy platform options
United HealthcareAlma
Mindful Care
Mindful Care
Mindful Care
Blue Cross Blue ShieldAmwell
Mindful Care
Anthem (Elevance Health)Amwell
LiveHealth Online
Mindful Care

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, may 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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Medical News Today has tested some of the products below. Reviewers may have received some products from the manufacturers for free, which does not influence their review. All opinions are the reviewers’ own.

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 without insurance coverage, as individual costs can vary depending on a person’s insurance plan.

Cost without insuranceInsurance coverageType of therapySession length
Brightsidefrom $95 per month• Aetna
• Anthem
• United Healthcare
• and more
• psychiatry
• crisis care
45 minutes
Talkspacefrom $69 per week• Premera
• Optum
• Blue Cross Blue Shield
• and more
• individual
• couples
• teen
• psychiatry
• veterans
45 minutes
Doctor On
from $89 per session• Medicare Part B
• specific insurers available on sign-up
• therapy
• psychiatry
• preventative health
• urgent care
15–50 minutes
Amwellfrom $99 per session• Academic Health Plan (AHP)
• Aetna
• Anthem
• Blue Cross Blue Shield
• and more
• psychiatry
• therapy
45 minutes
MDLivefrom $82 per session• Aetna
• Cigna
• Humana
• Blue Cross Blue Shield
• therapy
• psychiatry
• urgent care
• primary care
30–60 minutes
from $80 per sessionmost major insurance policies• therapy
• psychiatry
45 minutes
Almarates vary based on therapist and incomemost major insurance policies• individual
• couple’s
• family
• children’s
• adolescents’
• psychiatry
• medication management
Mindful Carefrom $50 per session• most major insurance policies
• Medicare
• Medicaid-Impact
• individual
• group
• addiction support
20–60 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 pages. However, if brands have passed the criteria above, we may still include brands with lower customer reviews.

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.

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.

Medicaid also covers online therapy in most states.

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 for online therapy. 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 $85 per session.

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

If a person’s insurance does not cover online therapy, or if a person does not have health insurance at all, there are several options they can consider. These include Employee Assistance Programs (EAP), which many employers offer to provide services that can help reduce difficulties in a person’s workplace and private life and prevent future difficulties.

Over 97% of organizations with over 5,000 employees have an EAP, according to 2023 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.

Students can consider researching services that their school or college provides. Community health centers may also offer mental health services for more affordable prices.

People can also consider paying out of pocket for online therapy. Looking for therapists that offer sliding scale payments can help reduce the cost.

Learn more about how to get low cost or free therapy.

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

  • Qualifications: People can ensure that therapists have a license to practice in their state.
  • Area of expertise: People can 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 can factor in a service’s per-session or per-month cost to ensure that it fits their budget.

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.

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

A person can check if their sessions with Talkspace are covered by their insurance by calling their insurance directly, or by checking Talkspace’s website for a list of partners here.

Talkspace offers many types of therapy available through multiple communication platforms across the U.S. It accepts insurance from most major providers, which may make it worth it for many people. However, people looking for therapy available 7 days a week may consider other service providers.

Depending on the type of insurance a person has and the types of insurance a company providing online therapy accepts, there may be copay payments to make. A person will sometimes have to make an upfront payment for some services and then receive a reimbursement from their insurance provider. These payment amounts are likely to be far less than the amount it would be necessary to pay without insurance.

A person may also be limited in their choice of provider if some companies do not accept their insurance.

Accessing therapy online can be more convenient for many people than in-person therapy, as it may be available at different hours and in different formats. This may make it worth it for people who would otherwise find it difficult to attend therapy sessions due to, for example, their work hours.

Some people may also find therapy online worth it due to the lower costs and a sense of anonymity. However, online therapy is not a complete substitute for in-person treatment and may not be suitable for everyone or all mental health conditions.

Brightside offers different forms of therapy, including crisis care. People can receive an appointment in as little as 24 hours, which may make it worth it for people with urgent concerns.

The company’s therapy option provides the same therapist from the start to the end of a person’s treatment through weekly sessions. Appointment slots are available at any time of the week, including nights and weekends. This may make Brightside worth it for people who would prefer consistent therapy with flexible timings.

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.