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Remote communication is a safe and convenient way to stay connected with friends, family, colleagues, and even healthcare providers.

Relying on screens for every interaction can be draining, but this shouldn’t prevent you from maintaining your social life, work life, routine health checkups, and mental health visits.

Nowadays, prioritizing mental health is more important than ever. Seeking therapy through online resources is a safe way to access mental health resources.

Amwell (short for American Well) is an online telehealth platform that connects patients with providers, including therapists who offer a variety of mental health services.

Keep reading to learn how it works and whether Amwell is right for you.

Amwell offers telemedicine services for healthcare providers and their patients. It makes healthcare services accessible by allowing patients to connect with their providers through live video visits.

Like other online platforms that connect patients with providers, Amwell offers online doctor visits, making it possible to see a doctor or another healthcare provider face-to-face without having to leave your home.

Compared with other services like Talkspace that specialize in online mental health treatment, Amwell offers a broad range of health services, from urgent care needs to therapy.

Pros

  • Enrollment is simple.
  • You can choose a provider that is right for you.
  • Schedule visits 24-7 based on your availability.
  • Seek treatment for a variety of health concerns, including mental health services.
  • Speak with healthcare providers from your smartphone.
  • High-quality, secure streaming makes face-to-face interactions seamless.
  • Using the Amwell platform is fast, easy, and convenient.
  • Costs are typically lower than in-office visits.
  • Healthcare providers can send prescriptions to nearby pharmacies.
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Cons

  • Treatment is only covered by a select number of employers and health insurance plans.
  • If you don’t have insurance, you’ll have to pay out of pocket.
  • Telehealth services can be draining when coupled with other forms of remote communication.
  • Some users may experience technical difficulties, especially if they have a weak internet connection.
  • Certain services, such as getting a second opinion, aren’t covered by health insurance.
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Signing up for and using Amwell is all done from your smartphone, computer, or any device with a web-based connection. Its purpose is to make it faster and easier to see and speak with a doctor, therapist, or another healthcare provider.

Enrollment

Enrolling in Amwell requires making an account using the web-based or smartphone app.

When you sign up, you’ll be asked to select your health insurance provider if you have one. If your health insurance provider isn’t listed or you don’t have one, you will be directed to payment options.

The final step of Amwell enrollment is creating a profile containing your personal information. Once you have added your insurance coverage, payment options, and personal details, you’re ready to search for a doctor or healthcare provider and schedule your first visit.

Insurance coverage

Some employers and health insurance providers cover Amwell visits, or a portion of them, as a benefit included in their coverage.

If your provider doesn’t cover Amwell visits or you do not have health insurance, you can still use Amwell services by paying for them out of pocket.

Some services aren’t covered by insurance at all or coverage may be partial. Prescriptions may incur out-of-pocket costs. Amwell doesn’t fill prescriptions but sends them to a nearby pharmacy of your choice.

Review and rate doctors

After you have enrolled, Amwell will show you a list of board certified doctors that are available. You can see their experience and ratings before scheduling a meeting with them.

The list of providers also includes licensed therapists, psychologists, and counselors who are on call for mental healthcare.

Schedule visits

Like an in-person doctor visit or therapy session, Amwell visits are scheduled in advance. Visits are available 24-7, though availability varies per provider.

Amwell uses secure, high-quality streaming for its visits, so you can see and hear your doctor in real time from your smartphone or computer.

A typical doctor visit for medical issues is about 10 minutes. Online therapy sessions take approximately 45 minutes. Depending on your needs, appointments may be shorter or longer than average.

Prescriptions

Prescriptions can be part of some treatments offered by Amwell services. Healthcare providers can make prescriptions or recommendations for over-the-counter medications during or after a visit. If your provider recommends a prescription medication, it will be sent to the pharmacy of your choice.

This may incur additional costs depending on whether prescriptions are covered by your health insurance plan.

Online telehealth services are a convenient option for those who prefer flexible scheduling and remote access. They’re also a safe way to seek treatment for nonemergency needs from the comfort of your own home.

In addition to connecting you with healthcare providers who can treat common conditions like acne and the flu, Amwell also offers special services like urgent care, women’s health, nutrition, pediatrics, psychiatry, and more.

Amwell’s online therapy options may be beneficial for those with mental health conditions. Therapists on Amwell can provide mental health counseling for anxiety, depression, stress management, insomnia, and more.

According to user surveys, Amwell patients seem pretty happy with the company’s services.

While the research on online therapy is limited, available studies do suggest that it provides benefits for users.

A small 2016 study found that patients with major depressive disorder who experienced a blended therapy protocol of both face-to-face and online sessions reported improvements in depression, health-related quality of life, and anxiety.

A 2018 review of nine studies also found that both internet-based and traditional treatment can yield a significant reduction in depression symptoms. That being said, researchers of this study concluded that further exploration of the effectiveness of internet-based treatment via a randomized controlled trial is needed.

A 2019 review of 35 studies found that telehealth consultations improve clinical outcomes in psychiatry, as well as wound care and managing certain chronic conditions.

Telehealth visits may also increase patient satisfaction and reduce costs.

Sharing personal private information over the internet can be nerve-racking. Amwell reassures its users that any sensitive information shared during virtual doctor visits and online therapy sessions is secure and confidential.

Amwell complies with all applicable laws as required by United Healthcare. It also protects patient rights and complies with all rules under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).

Amwell’s privacy policy goes further into the information and data that is collected, stored, and shared when using the service.

Amwell services are covered by some insurance providers. Signing up is free and allows you to see if Amwell visits are covered by your health insurance plan.

Amwell’s pricing depends on your insurance coverage. If you have a health insurance plan that includes Amwell, the price will vary based on your copay and services used. If your plan doesn’t include Amwell or you don’t have insurance, the cost will vary depending on the service or specialty you require.

Urgent care and medical visits start at $79, and therapy visits start at $99. Some services, including getting a second opinion, aren’t covered by insurance at all and start at $800.

Online doctor visits and therapy sessions are not everyone’s first choice when it comes to seeking help, but telehealth is a convenient, effective, and affordable option for many.

More research is needed to establish online therapy as an effective treatment protocol for mental health conditions, but the existing research is promising.


Lacey Bourassa is a health, wellness, and beauty writer based in Southern California. She holds a BA in English. Her work has appeared in digital publications like Livestrong, Verywell, Business Insider, Eat This Not That, and others. When she’s not writing, Lacey is likely pursuing her other interests: skin care, plant-based cooking, pilates, and traveling. You can keep up with her by visiting her website or her blog.