Virtual therapy that takes insurance
Best Online Therapy That Takes Insurance
Online therapy providers increase access to mental health care. We found out which ones accept insurance.
By Annie KellerMedically Reviewed by Lauren Masopust
This content is researched and written based on extensive testing by an external reviews team and does not reflect the views or opinions of Everyday Health’s editorial team. Everyday Health may earn a commission from purchases of products featured in this article.
Best Online Therapy for Unlimited Messaging That Takes Insurance
- Can provide medication management
- Offers an unlimited messaging plan
Best Online Therapy With Medication Management That Takes Insurance
- In-network for Aetna, Allegiance, Cigna, Optum/UnitedHealthcare, and Anthem insurance in select states
- Includes unlimited messaging with every plan
Best Online Therapy With the Highest Customer Reviews That Takes Insurance
- Ability to choose your own therapist
- Can provide medication management
Best Online Therapy for Children That Takes Insurance
- Offers therapy for children between age 10 and 17
- Can provide medication management
Before 2020, the idea of seeing a therapist online might have seemed like a strange concept for some. But today, online therapy platforms are increasingly being used to help therapists address a spike in mental health care needs. According to the American Psychological Association, psychologists saw 84 percent more patients with anxiety disorders and 72 percent more patients with depressive disorders in October 2021 than they did before the pandemic — with most psychologists treating patients virtually. Even though there are a variety of online therapy apps to help address this need, none of them will be of any use if you can’t pay for them. If you’re looking for the best online therapy that takes insurance, here are the top platforms that do.
- Best online therapy for unlimited messaging that takes insurance: Talkspace
- Best online therapy with medication management that takes insurance: Brightside
- Best online therapy with the highest customer reviews that takes insurance: MDLive
- Best online therapy for children that takes insurance: LiveHealth Online
Why You Can Trust Us
We independently investigate and recommend products and services we believe will enrich the lives of our readers and meet their specific needs. We’ve spent many hours of in-depth research on the online therapy market. You can trust our review because we did the legwork for you in these specific ways:
- Engaged in ongoing independent research
- Mystery shopped each of the brands
- Contacted the brands’ customer service teams to ask questions and gauge responsiveness
- Became customers of online therapy providers ourselves
- Reviewed academic research into the efficacy of online therapy versus in-person therapy
- Read hundreds of verified customer reviews from trusted third parties such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Consumer Reports
Learn more about how we researched and evaluated the best online therapy brands via the methodology page.
Best Online Therapy Option for Unlimited Messaging That Takes Insurance: Talkspace
- Offers medication management
- Various price tiers to choose from
- Many options for therapy communication methods, including text, audio, and video messaging as well as live sessions
- Choice of several providers offered
- May take several days to be matched to a therapist
- Therapist bios not available on website
- Live video sessions not available on all tiers
- May be delays in responses to messages
Talkspace operates under the principle that your mental health needs shouldn't be paused just because you don't have instant access to a counselor at all times. That’s why the platform offers an unlimited messaging plan that allows users to message their counselors as things come up throughout the day instead of waiting for a live session.
Talkspace offers two session formats to choose from: messaging and live therapy.
With the messaging therapy plan, you will be matched with a therapist and provided with a private chatroom where you can send text, audio, and video messages. The room is open at all times, and you can send a message whenever you feel the need. Your therapist is required to monitor the room and to respond according to a set schedule five days a week, but they may not do so outside of these scheduled hours. If you message them outside of this schedule, you may have to wait up to 24 hours for a response. If you want real-time interaction with your therapist, you can schedule a live audio, video, or chat session for an additional $65 per session.
Talkspace isn’t transparent about how quickly its therapists respond to messages. It states that therapists are quick to respond but that messages sent outside of scheduled hours or late at night may not receive a response until the morning. Additionally, therapists are only required to respond five days a week, which may be a roadblock for someone hoping for a response to a message outside of their therapist’s schedule. Nonetheless, you can send as many messages as you like, even outside of your therapist’s working hours, which may be convenient for people who prefer to get things off their chest as they come up.
The live therapy subscription offers four 45-minute live sessions per month. It does not include messaging, but you can subscribe to a live plus messaging therapy plan for a combination of the features of both the messaging and live therapy plans.
The BBB gives Talkspace a B rating, yet customers who reviewed Talkspace on the BBB gave it 1.09 out of 5 stars.
Cost and Payment Options
Talkspace pricing varies, based on where you live and the availability of therapists who are licensed to practice in your state of residence. Here’s what you can expect to pay without insurance, depending on the subscription you choose:
- Messaging Therapy Text, video, and audio messaging starting at $79 per week, $316 per month; discounts for paying quarterly (10 percent) and biannually (20 percent)
- Live Therapy Four 45-minute live therapy sessions per month starting at $109 per week, $436 per month; discounts for paying quarterly (10 percent) and biannually (20 percent)
- Live Messaging Plus Therapy Text, video, and audio messaging plus four 45-minute live therapy sessions per month starting at $139 per week, $556 per month; discounts for paying quarterly (10 percent) and biannually (20 percent)
- Teen Therapy (Ages 13 to 17) Text, audio, and video messaging for $65 per week, $260 per month
- Psychiatrist Sessions $249 for the first consultation, $125 for follow-up visits
What Insurance Does Talkspace Accept?
Talkspace partners with a lengthy list of insurance providers, employer-based insurance plans, and employee assistance programs. Enter the name of your insurance company on the Talkspace partners page to see whether the company accepts your insurance.
Read our expert review of the Talkspace online therapy platform if you need more information to help you choose the best option for you.
Best Online Therapy With Medication Management That Takes Insurance: Brightside
- In-network for Aetna, Allegiance, Cigna, Optum/UnitedHealthcare, and Anthem CA insurance in select states
- Therapy and medication management is available in every state
- Uses a unique technology called PrecisionRX that recommends the most effective medication for your symptoms
- All plans include unlimited messaging with your provider
- Ability to switch therapists is not guaranteed
- Only offers video therapy
Brightside offers cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and medication management in all 50 states and is in-network nationwide for several major insurance carriers like Aetna and Cigna. It’s currently rolling out nationwide in-network coverage for Optum/United Healthcare.Session Types
Brightside only offers video therapy. If you choose a plan that includes it, you will have 30-minute sessions every week. Every Brightside therapist uses a CBT approach to therapy, which has been demonstrated as an effective treatment for issues like depression, anxiety, substance use, and eating disorders according to the American Psychological Association.
You can schedule your therapy appointments at times that work for both you and your therapist, and you can contact them at any time between appointments through the unlimited messaging feature.Cost and Payment Options
If you use insurance to pay for your Brightside membership, your exact cost will depend on your individual plan. To confirm the exact amounts you’ll be expected to pay, you should contact your insurance provider to confirm your benefits.
If you don’t use insurance, Brightside costs between $95 and $349 per month, depending on the plan you choose. You can pay with Visa and Mastercard credit cards or FSA or HSA dollars. Brightside will charge you monthly from the date you first activate your plan. Here are the three Brightside plan options:
- Costs $299 per month without insurance
- Includes four 30-minute therapy sessions per month and unlimited messaging to your therapist
- Includes access to 10 self-care videos
- Costs $95 per month without insurance
- Meet with a provider for a comprehensive evaluation to determine if medication is the right fit
- Includes unlimited messaging with your psychiatric provider
- Medications cost $15 if shipped to your door, or the amount of your pharmacy copay if filled at your local pharmacy
Therapy and medication management
- Costs $349 per month without insurance
- Includes all of the benefits of the therapy and medication plans
Brightside accepts insurance nationwide for Aetna and Allegiance, and accepts Cigna in all states except Minnesota. It currently only accepts Anthem in California, and is rolling out nationwide coverage for Optum/United Healthcare. During your Brightside sign up process, you can input your insurance information to check your coverage.
For more in-depth information on Brightside, you can read our review.
Best Online Therapy With the Highest Customer Reviews That Takes Insurance: MDLive
- Ability to choose your own therapist
- Can provide medication management
- Wide range of services offered
- Primarily for medication management
- No monthly subscription plans
- Email and text options not available
MDLive is a comprehensive online medical platform that connects users with both mental health care professionals and nonemergency medical care via telehealth for issues that may arise such as migraine, pink eye, and sinus infections. MDLive also has psychiatrists on its platform, meaning users can get a prescription if advised as part of a treatment plan. Its consumer ratings set it apart from other online therapy platforms that take insurance.
Consumer review site Trustpilot gives MDLive a TrustScore of 4.4, which is considered excellent. A TrustScore is the overall measurement of reviewer satisfaction based on all the service and location reviews a business receives on Trustpilot on a scale of 1 to 5. MDLive users appreciate the convenience of the therapy, with one Trustpilot review stating, “I’ve always wanted to try therapy but found it difficult to fit into my schedule. I have high hopes for success moving forward because MD Live makes it easy.”
We also looked at the BBB ratings, which are based on information that the BBB obtains about a business, including complaints received from the public. The BBB gives MDLive an A+ rating, although it averages 1 out of 5 stars from 28 customer reviews. In contrast, the BBB gives Talkspace a B rating and 1.09 out of 5 stars from customer reviews. LiveHealth Online isn’t BBB-rated.
MDLive offers sessions by both phone and live video chat. This includes counseling and medication services.
Cost and Payment Options
MDLive charges $108 for a counseling session. For medication management, it charges $284 for the first visit with a psychiatrist and $108 for follow-up appointments. Insurance will lower the cost of therapy, but specific pricing depends on your insurance.
What Insurance Does MDLive Accept?
MDLive accepts most insurance plans, including Cigna, Humana, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Aetna. To find out whether MDLive accepts your insurance, you can register for a free account and input your insurance information.
Best Online Therapy for Children That Takes Insurance: LiveHealth Online
- Offers therapy for children between age 10 and 17
- Can provide medication management
- Medication management offered for adults only
- No monthly plans offered
- Email and text options not available
Most online therapy services only serve adults. Some platforms offer therapy to children ages 13 and older, but LiveHealth Online will provide online therapy for children as young as 10. Make sure that this type of therapy is right for your child and their needs. For example, if they are having difficulty managing their feelings or are feeling anxious, angry, or sad, online therapy may be beneficial, according to The Family Institute at Northwestern University.
Keep in mind, however, that online therapy isn’t for everyone. “While many therapists have successfully engaged children in online therapy, especially during the pandemic, and have done so with much success, it may be harder for kids to remain engaged online,” says Sarah Epstein, a licensed marriage and family therapist based in Dallas.
LiveHealth Online provides therapy via live video sessions with a therapist or a psychiatrist. Simply sign up using your smartphone, tablet, or computer. Once registered, you’ll be able to choose from a list of therapists and doctors who are licensed in your state and schedule an appointment. It’s free to sign up, and there are no monthly subscription fees.
Cost and Payment Options
Without insurance, an initial video session with a LiveHealth Online psychiatrist is $175, with follow-up visits costing $75 each. Video sessions with online therapists are $80 each, and video sessions with online psychologists are $95 each. Insurance will lower the cost of therapy, but specific pricing depends on your insurance.
What Insurance Does LiveHealth Online Accept?
LiveHealth Online’s video sessions are covered by several insurance plans. These include Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia, Empire Blue Cross, and Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield health plans. Other plans may cover some of the cost but aren’t considered in network, according to LiveHealth Online.
|Text, audio, and video messages; live video
|$316 to $556, depending on the plan
|Optum, Blue Cross, Cigna, GatorCare, and many employer-based plans; check the Talkspace website for list of the carriers accepted
|$299 to $349, depending on the plan
|Aetna, Cigna, Allegiance, Optum/United Healthcare, and Anthem CA
|Live video and phone
|$284 for the first psychiatrist visit, $108 for follow-up visits; $108 for online counseling
|Cigna, Humana, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, and others; create a free account to check coverage
|$175 for the first psychiatrist visit, $75 for follow-up visits; $80 for an online therapist; $95 for an online psychologist
|Blue Cross Blue Shield; possibility of partial coverage for out-of-network carriers
How to Find Out Whether an Online Therapy Provider Accepts Your Insurance
Most online therapy providers have some indication on their site of what forms of insurance they take. If your health insurance provider isn’t listed, you can call the number on the back of your insurance card or look on their website to see whether they cover online therapy and from which providers.
Do Online Therapy Providers Take Medicare or Medicaid?
Under the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, Medicare plans are required to include online therapy. Medicare Part B will cover online therapy and charge the same for it as in-person therapy. Different states have different rules about covering online therapy under Medicaid, so you need to check your state’s Medicaid plan to see if you could get online therapy with it. If your plan does cover online therapy, the platform you’re interested in using will usually indicate on its website whether it accepts either Medicaid or Medicare.
Other Ways to Save on Online Therapy
If your insurance doesn’t cover online therapy, check with your employer. They may offer an employee assistance program that covers some visits with an online therapy provider. Many online therapy platforms offer a free trial of their services or a monthly subscription plan that may save you money. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) also offers various resources for those who are having trouble affording therapy, such as a list of prescription assistance programs for psychiatric medications. Additionally, your local NAMI affiliate may be able to connect you with housing resources and support.
Pros and Cons of Online Therapy
- Easier to fit into your schedule than in-person appointments
- Ability to write to your therapist about problems as they come up rather than once a week, with some providers
- No need to travel
- May not receive instant responses from a provider, unless sessions are live
- Most only serve individuals age 18 and older
- Not always covered by insurance
- Requires individuals to be comfortable talking in a digital or video format
Who Is Online Therapy For?
Online therapy is best for those who are comfortable using technology to communicate, who don’t mind waiting for a response to whatever issues they bring up in therapy, and who are potentially willing to pay out of pocket. On the other hand, if you prefer discussing issues in person, don’t have a strong internet connection, and aren’t willing to wait for a response, online therapy might not be right for you.
In addition, online therapy is not for individuals who have thoughts of hurting themselves or others, as they need immediate professional care. Individuals with severe mental health issues such as mania, psychosis, and traumatic stress response may consider consulting with a professional before engaging in online therapy, since telehealth for people in distress can be challenging, according to an article published in January 2020 in the Journal of Psychotherapy Integration. In case of an emergency or plans to harm yourself or others, call 911.
Some aspects of online therapy and in-person therapy are universal. “The most important factor to know before choosing a therapist, online or otherwise, is fit, both in terms of personality and their approach to treatment,” says Aaron Weiner, PhD, a licensed, board-certified psychologist and master addiction counselor in Chicago. “The biggest difference between online therapy and in-person therapy is that it’s easier to be distracted or disengaged online — all the normal distractions in your environment are still there,” he says.
Specifically, online therapy can help with a wide variety of conditions and concerns:
What to Consider Before Purchasing an Online Therapy Subscription
Whether you’re going with an online therapy subscription or paying per visit, there are several things you should know about the plan you are interested in. Take notice of the prices for various providers on the online therapy platform (you’ll probably have to pay more if you need to see a psychiatrist). If you’re allowed to choose a provider from a group of them, make sure they have experience treating your specific concerns, such as depression, anxiety, or certain phobias, for example. You should also make sure that you have space at home to participate in your appointments in a private area without distractions.
How to Prepare for Your First Online Therapy Appointment
To make your first online therapy appointment easier for both yourself and your therapist, consider the following tips:
- Be ready to share your medical history. You don’t need to share every single illness you’ve ever had, but you should at least have a basic rundown of your mental health history and past treatment.
- Check any equipment you’re going to use for your visit beforehand, so you know it is working properly.
- Find a private space in your home where you can talk to someone without others overhearing.
- Make a list of the topics you want to cover and refer to it when speaking to your therapist.
- Likewise, make a list of things you might want to ask your therapist, like how long they’ve been in practice and how much experience they have in dealing with issues like yours.
The Bottom Line
A variety of online therapy providers take insurance. Which provider you should choose depends on your needs. If you’re primarily looking for medication management, MDLive or Talkspace may serve you best. If you want a combination of medication and online therapy, especially if you have Aetna, Cigna, or Optum/UnitedHealthcare, Brightside is a good option for using insurance. If you’re looking for therapy for a child under age 18, LiveHealth Online may be a good fit.
How We Research and Evaluate Online Therapy Platforms
Our services reviews team extensively scrutinizes any service we research and recommend, including the online therapy market. We only recommend online therapy platforms that we believe will make a difference for our readers.
Together, we’ve researched prominent brands through the experiences of real customers collected by trusted third-party reviews sites such as the BBB and Trustpilot. We’ve also consulted with independent psychologists and other mental health professionals to better understand why people seek out online therapy and read the latest research on the efficacy of online therapy versus in-person therapy.
When evaluating each company, we consider the session types they offer, the modes of therapy they specialize in, the credentials of their therapists, their business reputation and reported customer satisfaction, as well as the ease of registration and how easy it is to use the service. Price, payment options, and whether the company accepts insurance are all crucial components to consider. We always try to recommend a range for all budgets, with special consideration for lower budgets.
After our experts have selected the best online therapy platforms on the market, a practicing and independent licensed therapist reviews our picks to audit each company as a whole and ensure that every selection we recommend is appropriate for the users we identify.
In Emergency Situations
If you are in crisis, waiting for an online therapy appointment may not be safe. In case of an emergency, call 911. This includes plans to harm yourself or others. If you’re having suicidal thoughts, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. Help is available 24/7.
You can also reach out to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 800-662-HELP (4357). The SAMHSA help line is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-days-a-year treatment referral and information service for individuals facing mental or substance abuse disorders.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I find online therapy that accepts my insurance?
Some online therapy providers are vague in their responses to the question “Do you accept insurance?” You may find that consulting your insurance carrier first, instead of the provider, is a better place to start. You can typically find a customer service number on the back of your insurance card or contact them online by visiting their website.
Editorial Sources and Fact-Checking
- Zürcher S, Kerksieck P, Adamus C, et al. Prevalence of Mental Health Problems During Virus Epidemics in the General Public, Health Care Workers, and Survivors: A Rapid Review of the Evidence. Frontiers in Public Health. November 2020.
- Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020. Congress.gov. March 6, 2020.
- Jobes D, Crumlish J, Evans A. The COVID-19 Pandemic and Treating Suicidal Risk: The Telepsychotherapy Use of CAMS. Journal of Psychotherapy Integration. June 2020.
- Telehealth. Medicare.gov.
- Telemedicine. Medicaid.gov.
- Interview with Aaron Weiner. March 2022.
- Interview with Sara Epstein. March 2022.
- Child and Adolescent. The Family Institute at Northwestern University.
- Worsening Mental Health Crisis Pressures Psychologist Workforce. American Psychological Association. October 19, 2021.
- What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy? American Psychological Association. July 2017.
How to Find Online Therapy That Takes Your Insurance
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We do the research so you can find trusted products for your health and wellness.Read more about our vetting process.
- Best subscription: Talkspace
- Best for individual appointments: MDLive
- Best for prescriptions: Amwell
- Best for working with a full care team: Doctor on Demand
- Best for video appointments: Teladoc
Until recently, you could use your health insurance for face-to-face therapy but not online services. That’s changed dramatically within the past year. During the COVID-19 pandemic, more people have been taking advantage of telehealth services than ever before.
The technology for telehealth has been available for many years, and the pandemic has made it clear that access to online care is a vital service. This change has caused more care platforms to start.
As a result, many insurance companies have begun covering this service. Although this change was brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, all signs indicate it’s here to say. In fact, 97 percent of psychologists surveyed by the American Psychological Association in October 2021, agreed that online therapy should remain an option after the pandemic.
Telehealth allows you to meet with doctors, therapists, and other healthcare professionals online from the comfort of your home.
Online therapy is an especially popular option. It allows people to have sessions with fully licensed therapists using phone apps or their computers instead of going to an office. For people who’ve been considering therapy but are intimidated or overwhelmed by the thought of office visits or in-person care, online therapy might be the best way to get care.
Online therapy is available from large platforms that specialize in online services, like Talkspace or Better Help, and from individual therapy practices.
Not all online platforms take insurance, but most do. Many therapists who offer online sessions also take insurance.
As a rule, if you have insurance, you can likely find an online therapy provider who will take your plan. However, the exact coverage for online therapy available to you depends on:
- your insurance plan
- the therapist you choose
- state regulations where you live
You can find online therapy from several companies. The best companies for you will depend on your needs and your insurance coverage. Some companies offering online therapy include:
- Insurance coverage: works directly with health plans, employers, and most major insurance providers, including Premera, Cigna, Optum, Gatorcare, Aetna, and Blue Cross Blue Shield
- Average cost: $69 to $109 per week
- Features: talk therapy, couples therapy, teen therapy, psychiatry, LGBTQIA+ therapy, veterans therapy
Talkspace allows you to text your therapist throughout the day. You can also have access to live video therapy sessions and therapy and psychiatry services to manage medication.
Talkspace offers therapy for individuals, couples, and teens. Additionally, therapists who have experience providing supportive care to the LBGTQ community and to veterans are available.
No matter what services you’re seeking, you’ll start by taking a brief assessment that will ask you questions about your mental health and current social situation. You’ll then be matched with several potential therapists to choose from.
Talkspace accepts multiple insurance plans and is a workplace benefit from some employers, but it’s also available without insurance.
Check out our full Talkspace review.
- Service provides access to 24/7 care.
- Couples therapy is available.
- Flexible plans are available.
- Service only offers 30-minute live sessions.
- No financial aid is available outside of insurance.
- No family sessions are available.
Use code “SPACE” for $100 off your first subscription
Get started with Talkspace
Best for individual appointments
- Insurance coverage: accepts insurance from many major providers, including Cigna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Humana
- Average cost: $108 to $284 for an initial appointment; $108 per follow-up appointment
- Features: talk therapy, psychiatry
You can use MDLIVE to talk with a therapist online or over the phone. The platform will help you choose the right therapist or psychiatrist for you.
MDLIVE can be used to set up regular therapy sessions to help manage stress, depression, anxiety, major life changes, PTSD, grief, addiction, and more.
You can also receive prescriptions and monitoring support if medication is appropriate to support your mental health.
MDLIVE also offers virtual acute medical urgent care and dermatology consultations. They take insurance from most major insurance providers. Without insurance, costs per therapy session can go up to $108, while psychiatry can go up to $284.
Check out our full MDLIVE review.
- You can choose your own therapist.
- Children’s therapy is available.
- Appointments are available 24/7.
- Therapists cannot prescribe certain medications.
- There’s limited availability for weekend/evening appointments.
- Per-appointment scheduling comes at a higher price point.
Get started with MDLIVE
Best for prescriptions
- Insurance coverage: accepts insurance from many major providers, including Blue Cross Blue Shield, United Healthcare, Cigna, and Aetna
- Average cost: $109 to $129 per appointment
- Features: talk therapy, psychiatry
You can see a therapist or psychiatrist online with Amwell. The company offers video visits, and mental health professionals who have been trained in telehealth therapy.
Initial sessions with a therapist are 45 minutes long, and you can schedule sessions during evenings, weekends, or holidays. You and your therapist will develop a personalized treatment plan and set the number of sessions that will be most helpful for you.
Your Amwell therapist can work with a psychiatrist or your primary care physician if you would benefit from a supportive antidepressant, antianxiety, or other medication.
It’s covered by many insurance plans, but it’s also available without insurance.
Check out our full Amwell review.
- You can choose your own therapist.
- Therapists can prescribe medication.
- Appointments are available 24/7.
- Insurance does not cover all types of visits.
- No subscription option is available.
- Therapists cannot order lab tests.
Get started with Amwell
Best for working with a full care team
Doctor on Demand
- Insurance coverage: Works with many major insurance plans and employers and you can check your eligibility in the app
- Average cost: $129 to $299 per appointment
- Features: talk therapy, psychiatry
You’ll start with an assessment to see if online therapy is appropriate for you. Depending on your results, Doctors on Demand will then match you with a therapist or psychiatrist who can help you.
You can have an online video appointment any day of the week with this platform.
The therapists and psychiatrists are able to treat a wide variety of concerns, but the service specializes in depression, anxiety, trauma, loss, postpartum depression, substance misuse, and relationship concerns.
Costs can range from $75 to $299 before insurance depending on the length of the session and the type of medical professional you meet with.
Check out our full Doctor on Demand review.
- You can choose your own therapist or psychiatrist.
- Therapists are trained in a wide range of specialties.
- You can work with a full care team — primary care doctor, therapist, and psychiatrist — to create a treatment plan.
- Therapist availability may be limited in certain locations.
- Prescriptions for stimulants or benzodiazepines not available.
- You may need to wait a few days for an appointment.
Get started with Doctor on Demand
Best for video appointments
- Insurance coverage: Accepts many major service providers. You can also create an account to see if your insurance is accepted
- Average cost: up to $99 for therapy; up to $299 for first psychiatry visit; up to $119 for every visit after
- Features: talk therapy, couples therapy, psychiatry
Video or phone appointments are available with the therapist you choose using Teladoc.
The service will ask you questions to help match you with a therapist. You can also see a psychiatrist. You’ll be able to see a listing of therapists and their specialties.
A Teladoc psychiatrist can prescribe medication if needed to further support your mental health.
They do take insurance, and visits start at $99 without insurance depending on the type of mental health professional you meet with.
Check out our full Teladoc review.
- You can choose your therapist.
- Appointments are available 24/7.
- Same-day appointments are available.
- No text messaging option is available.
- Therapists cannot provide services for bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.
- Reportedly, their software can be glitchy.
Get started with Teladoc
|Who it’s best for
|$69–$109 per week
|anyone who wants a therapy subscription
|• wide range of specialized therapies available
• operates on a subscription model
|can’t book just one appointment since it’s a subscription
|$108–$284 per appointment
|someone who prefers talking over the phone instead of video chat
|• children’s therapy is available
• you can choose your own therapist
• phone appointments available
|weekend and nighttime appointments are available but may be limited
|$109–$129 per appointment
|anyone who wants access outside of business hours and doesn’t mind potentially paying some out of pocket
|appointments are available 24/7
|insurance doesn’t cover all types of visits
|Doctor on Demand
|$129–$299 per appointment
|someone who wants an entire care team (primary care doctor, therapist, and psychiatrist) in one place
|• you can choose your own therapist/psychiatrist
• all professionals are trained in a wide range of specialties and modalities
|availability may be limited in certain locations
|$99–$299 per appointment
|anyone who prefers video appointments or may need support outside of business hours
|appointments are available 24/7 (same day as well) with option to choose your own therapist
|there’s no text messaging option available so video calling is a requirement
Online therapy is also available from several smaller providers. You can search for providers online or ask your insurance company to help you find online providers. Try searching by region or specialty on Good Therapy or Online Therapy.
If suicidal thoughts are surfacing:
If you’re having thoughts of suicide or self-harm, please reach out. There’s help available right now:
- Call a trusted friend or family member.
- Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.
- Use the Crisis Text Line by texting “HOME” to 741741 in the U.S. and Canada.
- Go to the nearest emergency room and speak with a mental health professional.
Advantages of online therapy
- You can attend an appointment from the comfort of your home or office.
- You don’t need to drive to an appointment or arrange transportation.
- You can often see a therapist in the evenings and on weekends.
- You can often get an appointment very quickly.
Disadvantages of online therapy
- You need a strong internet connection to access the service.
- Videos can break up or lag, causing a stressful therapy experience.
- Online therapy can feel less personal, and therapists may miss some nonverbal cues.
- It can be harder to talk in private if you don’t live alone.
You can start by looking at the website of the mental health professional you’d like to use. Most online platforms will have a link you can click to see which insurance companies they work with.
There might even be a form you can use that will check your coverage for you. You’ll just need to provide your plan name, your name, and your policy number to see whether you’re covered.
It’s always a good idea to call the office of any therapist you’re considering and verify whether they accept your specific insurance plan for online therapy.
Another option is to start by calling your insurance company. The company can let you know whether you have coverage for online therapy and what copayments or coinsurance costs you’ll have. They can also point you in the direction of therapists who are in-network and the specific therapy platforms they work with.
Here’s a top-level glance at what some of the major insurance providers offer, but you’ll still want to call and confirm what’s covered in your exact plan:
- United Healthcare: United Healthcare covers Talkspace and any other online therapy as long as the provider is in-network.
- Aetna: Aetna members can receive online therapy through MDLIVE, Teladoc, and any other in-network therapist.
- Humana: Humana plans cover online therapy from in-network providers.
- Blue Cross Blue Shield: Blue Cross Blue Shield plans cover online therapy through Amwell and other providers depending on your specific plan. In-network providers are also covered.
- Anthem: Anthem members have access to therapy from Anthem’s own telehealth service, LiveHealth Online, as well as care from in-network providers.
- Cigna: Cigna covers Talkspace and any other in-network online therapy.
- Kaiser: Kaiser covers online therapy from in-network providers.
Just like private insurance companies, Medicare and Medicaid have also increased their coverage for online therapy during the pandemic.
Medicare is now covering online therapy for all Medicare members. Medicare Advantage Plans also cover online therapy.
When it comes to Medicaid, your coverage depends on your state. However, there have been large expansions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Almost all states are currently allowing Medicaid enrollees to access online therapy.
You can call the number on your Medicaid card for more information or contact your state’s Medicaid office.
Online platforms and mental health professionals will generally state whether they accept Medicare or Medicaid. You can contact the online platform or private practice if you’re not sure.
If you’re looking at using a private therapist or practice, someone at the office should be able to help you. If you’re looking at a larger therapy platform, a customer service representative can answer your questions.
It’s important to find a therapist you feel comfortable with. That might seem extra challenging when you’re looking at online services. Here are a few tips to help you find a great online provider and mental health professional:
Consider the initial cost
Some services will have a free trial or a free first appointment. This can help ensure you’re choosing the right therapist and program before you commit to sessions.
Understand how payment works
Service providers might want your copayment or coinsurance before your sessions or in monthly payments. Other providers might bill you later. Make sure you know how you’ll be billed to avoid surprises.
Review the therapist selection process
Different platforms will have different ways of helping you select a therapist. For example, you might be able to chat with a therapist and interview them before your first appointment.
Look for therapists who understand your experiences
In some cases, it can help to talk with a therapist of a certain, race, gender, age, or similar background to you. Many platforms will display this information upfront and can filter out therapists who don’t match your preferences.
Verify the therapist’s credentials
Always make sure you’re talking with degreed and licensed therapists.
Check the therapist’s location
It can help you know that you can see your therapist in person if you need to. Check for local online therapists if this is important to you.
Ask what types of providers are available
Not all therapy professionals are able to provide the same services. For example, if you need medication in addition to therapy, you’ll need a psychiatrist. Make sure the platform and therapy professional can give you the support you need.
Your online therapy sessions will work just like a face-to-face therapy session would. You’ll be connected to your mental health professional in a video chat. You can normally do this online or by using an app on your phone.
You’ll be able to talk with your therapist as soon as the session begins. They’ll ask you questions and help you manage your mental health, just like they would in person.
Some service providers also let you talk with your therapist over the phone without a video call. This can be even more convenient in many cases.
If you’re using Talkspace or BetterHelp, you can also send messages to your mental health professional throughout the day. You’ll get an answer once or twice a day, Monday through Friday. This can be a great way to manage your mental health on the go.
When you have an online therapy visit, it’s important to be in a private location. Your therapist will be in an office, so your privacy will be protected just like it would during an in-person appointment. However, your location can have a big impact on privacy.
If you’re at home during your session and live alone, you don’t need to take any other steps. If you live with other people, it’s a good idea to go into a bedroom or other space where you can close a door.
If you have your therapy session at work or another public location, you should go somewhere private. Find a room with a door and use headphones during your session.
You have a couple more options if you can’t find privacy in your home or office. If you own a car, you can sit in it during your appointment, as long as you’re not driving.
Another option is to have your session while you’re outdoors or taking a walk. If you can find an area that’s not too crowded, this can be a great way to get fresh air and therapy at the same time.
After your session, you can schedule the next visit. Some platforms will allow you to request additional visits whenever you need them.
Remember that if a session didn’t go well or you’re not comfortable with your therapist, you can switch at any time. Most platforms allow you to switch therapists by simply scheduling an appointment with someone different.
There are a few options for free or low cost online therapy. Many services offer free trials, pay-as-go services, discounts, peer counseling, and more ways to try online therapy without insurance.
For example, eTherapyPro does not accept insurance, but they do offer a three-day free trial. You can use the trial to decide if online therapy is right for you. If you decide you want to keep using the service, eTherapyPro costs $40 a week. You can sign up for a membership that will last until you cancel your weekly payments.
By comparison, BetterHelp costs between $60 and $90 a week without insurance depending on your location and the services and therapist you select.
For free therapy options in your area, you can call the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) hotline at 800-950-NAMI (6264) to be connected with a mental health professional. You can also email them at [email protected].
If you’re a veteran, you can contact the Veteran’s Crisis Line by text, chat, or phone.
Can you talk with a therapist for free online?
Online therapists typically charge a fee for their services, but there are some free resources you may be able to use. These include:
- 7 Cups, where you can chat with volunteer listeners for free
- Therapy Aid Coalition, which offers four free therapy appointments
- Bliss by the Centre for Interactive Mental Health Solutions, which offers free self-guided lessons
- Crisis Text Line, which can be used in situations where you need immediate support
You may also be able to have your online therapy services from some platforms covered 100% by your insurance company, meaning your out-of-pocket cost would be $0.
Before choosing an online therapy service, you should check to see if the company accepts your insurance plan and if there will be a copay.
How much does therapy cost?
On average, in-person therapy can cost anywhere from $75 to $150 per session. It can be more expensive depending on the services received and the company providing the service. Insurance may cover some or all these costs, depending on your plan.
How much does online therapy cost?
It depends on which service provider you choose. Some online therapy providers offer a subscription plan that costs anywhere from $69 to $129 per week before insurance.
Others have a per-appointment cost and can range from $75 to $299 depending on the service. However, you may be able to get these costs completely or partially covered by insurance, dropping the cost considerably.
You can use your insurance to access therapy online. With the rise in telehealth use during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are more options for online therapy than ever before.
Start by contacting your insurance company to see whether you have coverage for online therapy. They can confirm your coverage and point you in the right direction to get the support you need.90,000 psychiatrists are increasingly using VR therapy. This method proved to be effective for the treatment of agoraphobia
Oxford scientists confirmed the effectiveness of VR therapy in the treatment of agoraphobia.
After six weeks of therapy, patients with agoraphobia were able to partially overcome the stress of socializing with strangers and traveling on public transport.
VR headsets are used in the treatment of various disorders and phobias, including PTSD and fear of flying. nine0006
Virtual reality technologies can be useful in the treatment of dementia and cancer.
Oxford scientists conducted a study that tested the effectiveness of VR therapy in the treatment of agoraphobia. It confirmed that such sessions can help people cope with their fears.
- According to the authors of the study, VR therapy allowed participants to gain confidence and ease their fears. It became easier for them to complete tasks in real life that they had previously avoided. nine0033
- The experiment also showed that the more severe the person's condition, the greater the benefit of therapy.
The researchers divided the study participants into two groups. 174 patients used Game Change virtual reality technologies along with conventional treatment, another 172 received only standard treatment.
- Members of the first group underwent six weeks of 30-minute sessions in virtual reality glasses under the supervision of a specialist. They had to perform various tasks related to their fears. For example, asking for a cup of coffee, making eye contact, or approaching other characters. nine0033
- Six weeks after the start of the trial, those who received VR therapy experienced a greater reduction in stress levels from life situations associated with visiting public places than those who received only standard treatment. The subjects from the first group also became less likely to avoid performing such tasks in real life. For example, one of those who underwent VR therapy was able to overcome his fear of traveling on public transport and visit his father's grave.
- At the same time, the researchers emphasize that the use of VR therapy is ineffective in isolation from standard therapy. nine0033
VR helmets are used in the treatment of other disorders and phobias, such as PTSD.
- Researchers at Emory University School of Medicine found that simulating various sensory triggers associated with trauma memories in virtual space reduced the onset of PTSD symptoms over the next six months after VR therapy by 15-67%.
- US military hospitals are successfully using the Bravemind application to treat PTSD, and the 3MDR system, which combines the mechanics of exercise therapy with cognitive therapy, is helping patients who have undergone concussion or amputation. nine0033
- The Snow World app, developed by psychiatrist Hunter Hoffman, helps you manage phantom pain. They appear in some patients with severe burns and are comparable in intensity to real pain. Snow World keeps track of such moments and begins to show patients a scene with snow that creates the illusion of coolness.
- The American company Virtual Reality Medical Center offers various VR solutions to combat phobias. For example, patients with aerophobia, under the supervision of a psychiatrist, undergo a controlled experience of flying on an airplane. In a similar way, patients with arachnophobia, claustrophobia and other irrational fears are treated. nine0033
VR technologies for the treatment of psychological disorders are also being developed in Russia. For example, the Yakut company Revro proposed a way to work out one of the factors in the development of depression - self-criticism.
- The user in the virtual world finds himself in a room with a crying teenager who looks like him. The patient's task is to reassure the teenager with encouraging words and compliments. As soon as the goal is achieved, the user will be in the place of a teenager and will hear positive words addressed to him from himself. nine0033
People with self-criticism have a serious barrier to praising themselves. By doing exercises in virtual reality, we suggest passing this threshold faster.Egor Vasiliev, founder of Revro
Virtual reality technologies are also used in other areas of medicine.
- Startup Wayback has developed a program to help people suffering from memory loss and dementia. They are shown a peculiar series of films, consisting of memorable moments from the past, to stimulate the brain and awaken long-term memories. nine0033
- Sydney-based Start VR Studio has developed a virtual reality app that helps patients de-stress while undergoing chemotherapy. Wearing VR glasses, they go on a virtual journey to relax.
- Scientists from the Neuroscape Center for Brain Research at the University of California have developed a special virtual reality video game called Labryinth-VR. Players move around the "neighborhood", performing various tasks, the complexity of which gradually increases. This contributes to the preservation of cognitive functions. nine0033
- VR headsets are also being used to detect dementia at an early stage, even before symptoms appear. The test is based on spatial navigation, which is often impaired in these patients.
virtual reality therapy - InterPolyMech
Virtual reality therapy (VRT) - an innovative method for diagnosing and treating mental disorders
Also, this type of treatment is known as immersion immersion of the patient) virtual reality therapy - virtual reality immersion therapy, VRIT. It is based on a well-known practice in the treatment of mental disorders called systematic desensitization or exposure. nine0006
Meaning of exposure: the patient in a safe form, in a carefully controlled and therapeutic way, is exposed to factors that frighten him; gradually the fear becomes dull (desensitization occurs). Clinical studies have shown that exposure using a virtual environment (VR) is more effective than without it.
The idea of VRT is not new, but until recently the technology was not widely used due to the high cost and complexity of the equipment. Now the emergence of more advanced, inexpensive and mobile technical means opens up the possibility of the widespread provision of psychological assistance using virtual reality. nine0006
VRT is used to improve the condition of:
- post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD),
- phobias (sociophobia, acrophobia (fear of heights), fear of flying, fear of public speaking, fear of driving),
- anxiety disorders,
- obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD),
- panic attacks,
- psychosomatic pain syndromes.
VRT can also be used as part of a rehabilitation program for patients with autism and schizophrenia by improving their social activities. nine0006
What projects based on the use of virtual reality therapy have already been launched in the world? We present a short overview.
Joint project of the University of California and the Pentagon; the task is to treat PTSD in military personnel; widely used in the US Army.
VR therapy system for mental disorders. It consists of a customizable virtual reality environment, a vibrotactile platform and an olfactory machine that create the full range of stimuli associated with the simulated situation. Software for dealing with phobias, including fear of flying, heights, public speaking and storms. In the development - projects on the treatment of childhood anxiety and social phobia. nine0006
VR therapy system for clinical use. Treatment of various mental conditions and disorders.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Processing VR Therapy for PTSD (EMDR).
Virtual Reality Medical Center
A VR-based aerophobia treatment system that includes a device and software that simulates flight.
Universal VR platform for psychiatrists and psychotherapists, used for VR therapy for a wide range of mental disorders.
A meditative VR game where the user explores the underwater world through biofeedback using their breath. nine0006