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Though BetterHelp is not covered by insurance, there may be ways to make this service or other mental health services more affordable.
To many, one of the most intimidating parts of beginning therapy is finding a therapist. There are thousands of therapists to choose from, but most people don’t know how to begin narrowing down the list or even creating a list in the first place.
For those looking for an easier and more private way to match with a therapist, the online therapy provider BetterHelp may be a good option. Online therapy has become more popular than ever since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and BetterHelp has been a common way to find a licensed therapist.
BetterHelp is not covered by insurance, but your insurance provider may still reimburse you. And even if you are not able to be reimbursed, BetterHelp is still one of the more affordable options for therapy.
BetterHelp is an online therapy provider that helps people access quality therapy from the comfort of their home. According to its website, it’s the largest online therapy provider worldwide, helping over 2 million people since 2013.
BetterHelp, currently with over 23,000 licensed therapists on its platform, offers individual and couples therapy for individuals over 18 years old.
While the most common option for therapy is via live video chats, there are also options for phone calls or even online messaging.
BetterHelp is a subscription service that costs $60–$90 per week (billed every 4 weeks), which means you can expect to be billed $240–$360 per month.
You can cancel your subscription at any time.
For those who are unable to pay this fee, financial aid may be available. You can contact the BetterHelp team to learn more about payment options.
With the passage of the mental health parity law in 2008, insurance providers in the United States are required to offer coverage for mental health, behavioral health, and substance use disorders that’s similar to coverage for physical health.
Many health insurance companies, particularly larger ones, will help subsidize the cost of therapy. BetterHelp is not covered by health insurance, but your insurance plan may make a partial reimbursement.
You can speak with your health insurance provider to determine reimbursement and copay rates.
Keep in mind that for some insurance companies, you must be diagnosed with a mental health condition or issue to have therapy sessions covered by insurance.
How to check your insurance plan for mental health coverage
There are a few ways you can gain more information about mental health coverage.
First, you can go directly to your health insurance company’s website and log in. On the website, you should be able to access information about what your health insurance plan covers and what type of costs you can expect for therapy, such as a copay.
If you want to speak to someone directly, you can always call the toll-free number on the back of your insurance card. This way, you can get the most accurate information about whether you’ll be able to have therapeutic services covered, what you need to do to have them covered, and what out-of-pocket costs you should expect.
Finally, if you’re insured through your employer, you can also contact your company’s human resources (HR) department directly for more information on what mental health services your plan offers.
How to find a therapist covered by your insurance
If you choose to find a therapist through BetterHelp, keep in mind that neither BetterHelp nor the therapists on the BetterHelp platform will be able to accept health insurance. If your health insurance provider has informed you that they cannot reimburse you for any of the costs of BetterHelp, there are other ways to find a therapist.
The best option for finding a therapist whose services are covered by your insurance is to log onto your insurance provider’s website and review the list of therapists available under your plan. You can likely filter by location and get some basic information about each therapist, including their practice and specialty areas.
Therapy can be expensive, but there are options that are a little more affordable. Here are some of the best options for affordable therapy:
- Online therapy. Oftentimes, online therapy is a more affordable option than in-person therapy.
- Therapists who use a sliding fee scale. Many therapists will base their pricing on their client’s income. For those who have a lower income, there may be a greater opportunity for reduced pricing on therapy. When choosing a therapist, see if “sliding fee scale” is listed in the payment section of their practice description.
- Therapist in training. One of the least used ways to get therapeutic services is choosing a therapist who is just starting out. Therapists in training tend to charge much lower rates, and they have the support and oversight of an experienced therapist in the room during therapy sessions, so you get the best of both worlds.
- Support groups. Though support groups are not necessarily comparable to one-on-one therapy, joining one may be another good option for accessing affordable mental health support. Support groups either charge a small fee or sometimes nothing at all. Plus, they’re a great way to meet people who are going through similar situations and experiences. You can find support groups near you through the Mental Health America resource list.
- Mental health centers. Another option is to find a therapist through a mental health center. Mental health centers are often able to provide more affordable mental health services for those in the community.
BetterHelp is a great option for those looking for affordable online therapy.
However, although the pricing is likely more affordable than in-person therapy options, paying up to $360 per month is not realistic for many. And because BetterHelp does not accept health insurance, though sometimes they do offer financial aid, this can be another challenge for those seeking mental health services
For these reasons, you may want to consider talking with your health insurance provider to find out if they’re able to subsidize some or all of the cost of your therapeutic services through BetterHelp before you sign up. If not, your insurance company may be able to offer you a list of therapists that do accept your health insurance instead.
You can also search for therapists who offer a lower rate for lower-income households, known as a sliding scale fee, or try a support group or mental health center for mental health supportive services and resources.
If you need more immediate assistance, you can always call 24/7 crisis lines, like the ones listed above.