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BetterHelp is a subscription service that provides users with access to online therapy.

You can talk to a psychologist, a clinical social worker, a marriage and family therapist, or a licensed professional counselor.

BetterHelp therapists have experience treating a range of issues, including anxiety, depression, and relationships, among others.

BetterHelp isn’t covered by insurance.

Keep reading to learn more about BetterHelp, and how you can access therapy and other mental health services with or without insurance.

BetterHelp operates on a subscription model. The fee ranges from $60 to $80 per week and is billed monthly. You’ll be charged between $240 and $320 per month, payable via a credit card or PayPal.

The subscription includes:

  • unlimited text messaging with your counselor
  • unlimited audio messaging with your counselor
  • one live weekly video session with your counselor

BetterHelp financial aid

Financial aid is available. BetterHelp will ask you to fill out a short survey about your employment status and monthly income to check your eligibility.

If you have health insurance, there’s a good chance that your policy covers at least some mental health services.

Keep in mind that there are vast differences in benefits provided by insurers. You’ll need to review your plan carefully to understand both what is covered and what you’ll have to pay out of pocket.

How to check your insurance plan for mental health coverage

To find out what your plan covers, you can:

  • log in to your online account
  • call your provider
  • check with your company’s human resources department
  • ask the healthcare provider you want to work with if your insurance is in their network

In some cases, you’ll need to obtain pre-authorization to obtain coverage. Other insurers require you to pay a deductible before they pay any claims. Deductibles can be quite high — up to $5,000 in some cases — so be sure to ask your insurer.

Finally, remember that most insurers only pay for mental health services that are deemed medically necessary. That means you’ll likely need a diagnosis or a doctor’s referral before you can access treatment.

How to find a therapist covered by your insurance

Once you know what your plan covers, it’s time to find a therapist. To find a therapist, check out one or more of the following resources:

  • your insurance plan’s list of providers
  • referrals from healthcare professionals, family, and friends
  • trustworthy online databases, such as the American Psychological Association’s Psychologist Locator or the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy’s Therapist Locator
  • local organizations, such as colleges, advocacy groups, religious groups, and nonprofits

If you don’t have health insurance (or even if you do), here’s what you can do to access affordable mental healthcare.

Try online therapy

While online therapy isn’t for everyone, it does have some advantages. For one, it tends to be less expensive than paying for a therapist out of pocket.

Some people also find it more convenient than visiting a therapist in person. And in light of the recent COVID-19 outbreak, it’s also a safe option for mental health support.

BetterHelp is just one of many online therapy options out there. Talkspace, Regain, Pride Counseling, and Amwell offer comparable services.

Look for sliding scale providers

Some therapy providers offer what’s known as a sliding scale payment for their services. This means the fee will be based on your income, usually between $75 and $175 per session. The lower your income, the less you pay.

Be aware that you’ll likely have to show documentation to prove your annual income.

In most cases, sliding scale therapy is no different from regular therapy. However, you might have a bit less choice in terms of therapists and specialities available.

You can search for a sliding scale therapist online using one of the following search tools:

Ask about discounts

If you’ve found a therapist you want to work with but can’t pay their fee, it doesn’t hurt to ask — respectfully — about discounts. While it’s not common, some therapists do offer discounted rates.

Reach out to the therapist and let them know that your funds are limited. Ask whether they have a cash policy or other discount programs. Group therapy is another less-expensive option.

Even if they say no, they’ll likely be able to point you in the right direction.

Join a local support group

Support groups are a more affordable in-person therapy option. Many support groups are free to attend.

They’re often structured around a particular issue, like addiction, depression, or chronic illness. One added benefit is that joining a support group will allow you to connect with others dealing with similar issues and challenges.

Look for a support group run by a licensed mental health professional or a peer advocate.

It’s important to join a group with a moderator. Self-run groups can lack organization.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) offers peer-led support groups in cities across the country.

Try an educational institution or training center

Most therapists have to undergo a substantial amount of training before they obtain certification. As a result, many training institutions offer free or reduced cost therapy services provided by students.

These services are often available in universities and colleges that offer advanced degrees in psychology, social work, or counseling. The students are supervised by a licensed professional with experience in a particular area of mental health treatment.

Check out community mental health centers

You might be able to find a free or low-cost therapy option provided at a local mental health center. These services are often covered by Medicaid.

To find one, contact your state health department, or use an online search engine to look for community mental health centers in your area.

To talk to someone right now, try calling one of the following 24/7 crisis lines:

  • National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 800-273-8255
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline: 800-662-4357
  • Samaritans Crisis Hotline: 212-673-3000
  • United Way Helpline: 211
  • YouthLine: 877-968-8491
  • The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233

Text-based options are also available. These include:

It takes courage to reach out for help. If you want to seek help but you’re not sure where to start, you can also contact your doctor or another healthcare professional if you have one.

SAMHSA also offers an online Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator for people seeking treatment.

If you’re in a potentially life threatening situation, call 911 or local emergency services for immediate assistance.

BetterHelp is an online, subscription-based therapy service. It’s not covered by health insurance. It’s one of many therapy options you can access.