Online therapy has grown in popularity over the last few years. There are many companies to choose from, but according to their website, BetterHelp is the world’s largest therapy platform. Many people may have a question: does BetterHelp take insurance? So let’s look at the cost and the different payment options they offer.
BetterHelp is an online therapy platform.
They provide therapy for a wide range of issues, but may not be appropriate for everyone.
It is a paid membership service that is billed every 4 weeks.
They do not work with insurance, but they do offer financial aid if needed.
What is BetterHelp?
BetterHelp is an online platform offering therapy services. This service is available to adults not under the care of a legal guardian. The therapists at BetterHelp are licensed and have a master’s or doctoral degree in their field. Per their website, their therapists have extensive training and can provide therapy related to many mental health conditions:
- LGBT matters;
"They do not provide therapy services to anyone in an urgent crisis, or emergent situation or anyone who is being court-ordered to attend therapy."
How much does BetterHelp cost?
BetterHelp operates on a subscription basis and is billed every 4 weeks. The cost breaks down to $60–90/week (monthly cost $240-360) and is dependent on your needs, location, and therapist availability. Accepted payment sources are credit cards or PayPal. Users can cancel their subscriptions at any time. There are no fees attached to cancellations.
Reduced fees and financial aid are available to those who qualify. To apply for a reduced cost or financial aid, you will need to fill out a form regarding your finances. Financial assistance will vary based on multiple variables, including your income. Reach out to BetterHelp to learn more about what specific information you will need to provide.
Does BetterHelp take insurance?
BetterHelp does not accept insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid. The fees they charge for services are comparable, and in some cases, cheaper than an insurance copay would be. You can try to submit for reimbursement from your insurance company, but it can be difficult to do so. Insurance companies typically require a diagnosis to provide the reimbursement, and the therapists at BetterHelp do not diagnose patients.
How to know if my insurance covers online therapy?
Not all insurances cover online therapy, but some do. Every plan is different and therefore, coverage will vary. Even if your plan covers online therapy, not all online therapy platforms accept insurance. It is best to speak to both your insurance company and the therapy provider of your choice to confirm coverage. There are multiple ways to find out if your plan covers online therapy.
Here’s what you can do:
- Call your insurance provider
- Check your benefits online
- Speak with your human resources representative
- Check with your online therapy provider of choice
Online therapy vs in person
Online and in-person therapy are both helpful tools for maintaining strong mental health. They both utilize trained, professional therapists to provide guidance and support. Despite their similarities, they differ in many ways.
Online therapy allows someone to receive services from the comfort of their home. It also allows for social distancing, scheduling flexibility, and more communication options. This can include 24/7 messaging, live chats, video conferencing, or phone calls. These options typically are not available with traditional in-person therapy. A disadvantage of online therapy is the need for reliable internet and technology to access care.
An advantage of in-person therapy is that your therapist-depending on their licensing-may be able to diagnose or prescribe medication. They are also able to fulfill court-ordered therapy requirements. This is not something that online therapists can do.
One of the most important differences between online and in-person therapy is that online therapy is NOT appropriate for someone in a crisis or emergent situation (such as someone who is having suicidal/homicidal thoughts.)
Where else can you seek affordable therapy?
Everyone deserves access to therapy if needed. Online therapy isn’t always the best option, and traditional therapy can get expensive. Thankfully, there are other options for those wanting to seek out help. Some of these options are more likely to be found in larger cities with more available resources. No matter where you live, it’s important to seek out help if needed. Here are some options outside online or in-person therapy.
A gathering of non-professionals dealing with similar struggles. These groups provide the opportunity for people of all ages and backgrounds to connect and offer each other support and encouragement. Support groups can meet online or in person. They cover various topics, from grief to infertility, to eating disorders. Alcoholics Anonymous is a well-known example of a support group.
Community mental health centers
A local center that offers mental health resources and support. Typically geared towards the underserved community. These centers can offer individual and group therapy, as well as diagnosis and treatments. They are funded by state and federal funds and offer free or sliding-scale payment options. Community mental health centers are often used as meeting places for support groups.
Therapist in training
To become licensed, a therapist must complete a certain number of clinical hours. While rare, it is possible for a therapist in training to offer services at a discounted rate, or even pro bono. Contacting a local therapist’s office may give you more insight into this option.
Sliding-scale healthcare therapists
A payment plan is utilized by some therapists to help their clients afford therapy. Not all therapists offer this option. It is usually based on income, and they may require proof of earnings. How much of a discount is given is decided by the therapist. This can be a hard discussion to have, but know that it is one your therapist has likely had before. If you need therapy but are worried about paying for it, ask your therapist if they offer services based on a sliding scale.
Finding and paying for the right therapist can be a daunting task. There are many options to choose from-some that are covered by insurance, and some are not. BetterHelp offers multiple options for payment, but insurance is not one of them. They offer financial aid, and you can use your HSA to pay for their services. They are not appropriate for every situation, and if you find yourself in a therapy crisis or emergent situation, please seek out in-person help immediately. If you are unable to pay for in-person services, check out your community for local resources.
Is BetterHelp free?
No, BetterHelp is not free. It is a paid membership service. They do offer financial aid to those who qualify. When you sign up for services, you can apply for financial aid. You may be required to provide proof of income to qualify for assistance.
Does BetterHelp take Medicaid?
BetterHelp does not accept Medicaid as a form of payment. They do not accept any insurance plans. If you find yourself struggling to afford their services, check out the financial aid options that they offer.
Is BetterHelp cheaper than therapy with insurance?
It all depends on what your insurance plan covers. BetterHelp states on its website that its pricing can be cheaper than insurance co-pays. Check with your insurance provider to see what mental health coverage you have. Some plans have co-pays that are cheaper than BetterHelp’s fees.
Can I use my HSA to cover BetterHelp costs?
You may be able to use your HSA to cover the cost of BetterHelp. Reach out to your HSA provider for confirmation. Your human resources representative may also be able to answer this question for you.