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- Evaluate ingredients and composition: Do they have the potential to cause harm?
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Alma is our pick for best overall online therapy services. See our other top-vetted choices plus how to choose.
- Best overall: Alma | Skip to review
- Best subscription: Talkspace | Skip to review
- Best for cultural competence: Octave | Skip to review
- Best for individual appointments: MDLive | Skip to review
- Best for prescriptions: Amwell | Skip to review
- Best for working with a full care team: Doctor on Demand | Skip to review
- Best for video appointments: Teladoc | Skip to review
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 smartphone apps or their computers instead of going to an office.
For people who have 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.
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 service that 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
and price without insurance
|Who it’s best for||Highlights||Considerations|
Starts at $260 per month
|anyone looking for a personalized and insurance friendly platform|
• accepts many insurance providers
• makes it easy to bill out-of-network providers
• offers a cost estimator tool with detailed information about payments
|may have fewer therapists in certain states|
$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|
• $134/25-min. consultation
• $184/50 min. consultation
|anyone seeking a culturally competent platform emphasizing inclusivity and diversity||• flexible scheduling|
• prioritizes clients of diverse backgrounds
• supports continuous training for therapists to meet clients’ unique needs
|• limited geographic availability|
• high out-of-pocket costs for those without insurance
$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 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|
$134–$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 or 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 services. You can search for online therapists or ask your insurance company to help you find them. You can also try searching by region or specialty on Good Therapy or Online Therapy.
At Healthline, we make sure to vet every product or service that we include in our content. Our Brand and Content Integrity team has evaluated each online therapy service to ensure they meet our business and medical standards.
Additionally, our team of medical and mental health professionals from the Healthline Medical Network review all our content for accuracy.
When choosing the best online therapy services that take insurance, we considered several crucial factors, including:
- credentials and qualifications of mental health professionals
- the sign-up process
- customer feedback
- payment options and fees
- subscription options and services
- insurance coverage
- financial assistance
Additionally, we sought platforms with mental health professionals who have a wide range of expertise, such as:
- severe stress
At Healthline, we believe that everyone should have access to quality mental health care. That’s why we strive to provide reliable information so you can make an informed decision when choosing an online therapy platform.
You can start by looking at the website of the mental health professional you want 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. To see whether you’re covered, you’ll just need to provide your:
- plan name
- policy number
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 the network and the specific therapy platforms they work with.
Here’s a top-level glance at what some of the major insurance companies 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 therapist is in-network.
- Aetna: Aetna members can receive online therapy through MDLIVE, Teladoc, Talkspace, and other in-network therapists.
- Humana: Humana plans cover online therapy from in-network professionals.
- Blue Cross Blue Shield: Blue Cross Blue Shield plans cover online therapy through Amwell and other services, depending on your specific plan. In-network professionals are also covered.
- Anthem: Anthem members have access to therapy from Anthem’s own telehealth service, LiveHealth Online, and care from in-network professionals.
- Cigna: Cigna covers Talkspace and any other in-network online therapy services.
- Kaiser: Kaiser covers online therapy from in-network professionals.
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 were large expansions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Almost all states currently allow 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. A customer service representative can answer your questions if you’re looking at a larger therapy platform.
There are a few options for free or low cost online therapy. Many services offer:
- free trials
- pay-as-you-go services
- peer counseling
- and more ways to try online therapy without insurance
For example, eTherapyPro doesn’t accept insurance, but they do offer a 3-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@example.com.
If you’re a veteran, you can contact the Veterans Crisis Line by text, chat, or phone.
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 therapy service 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 choose the right therapist and program before committing to sessions.
Understand how payment works
Services might want your copayment or coinsurance before your sessions or in monthly payments. Others 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 up front 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
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 therapy professionals 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 want to speak with a psychiatrist. Make sure the platform and therapy professional can give you the support you need.
Online therapy isn’t suitable for emergency situations
If you’re having thoughts of suicide or self-harm, please reach out for help. There’s help available right now:
- 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.
Video glitches could create tension
- You need a strong internet connection to access the service.
- Videos can break up or lag, which can be a stressful therapy experience.
- Online therapy can feel less personal, and therapists may miss some nonverbal cues.
- It can be hard to talk in private if you don’t live alone.
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 services 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 a service such as 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.
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 doesn’t go well or you’re uncomfortable with your therapist, you can switch anytime. Most platforms allow you to switch therapists by simply scheduling an appointment with a different professional.
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 sessions from some platforms covered 100% by your insurance company, meaning your out-of-pocket cost would be $0.
Before choosing an online therapy service, 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 costs 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 you choose. Some online therapy services offer a subscription plan that costs anywhere from $69–$129 per week before insurance.
Others have a per-appointment cost and can range from $75–$299, depending on the service. However, you may be able to get these costs completely or partially covered by insurance.
Is Talkspace legitimate?
Talkspace is a legitimate online therapy platform offering access to licensed mental health professionals. They provide counseling and treatment through text, video, and audio messages for various mental health concerns.
Is there a way to talk to a therapist online free?
There are a few ways to access free online therapeutic services. Some options include:
- Crisis hotlines: Crisis hotlines, like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, primarily provide immediate support and intervention during times of crisis. While not traditional therapy, they offer essential help and can connect individuals to crisis services.
- Volunteer organizations: Some nonprofit organizations may offer a range of services, from crisis intervention to longer-term support. However, the level of professional therapy they provide can vary.
- University clinics: University counseling clinics often provide counseling services delivered by psychology or counseling students under the supervision of licensed professionals. These services can be a form of therapy, though the experience may differ from seeing a fully licensed therapist.
- Employee Assistance Programs (EAP): EAPs generally offer short-term counseling services to employees and their families. This counseling can be considered a form of therapy, but it’s typically focused on resolving specific issues or crises.
- Online communities: These are not therapy services but rather peer support networks where individuals can share their experiences and offer support to one another. While they can be valuable for emotional support, they don’t substitute for professional therapy.
How can I do therapy at home?
Online therapy platforms provide access to licensed therapists and mental health professionals through digital communication channels like text, audio, or video. These platforms offer a range of therapeutic services for individuals seeking support for various mental health concerns.
Who owns Talkspace?
Talkspace was founded by the couple Roni and Oren Frank. However, in 2021, it became a publicly traded company through a SPAC (special purpose acquisition company) merger.
The ownership structure of Talkspace involves various shareholders, including private investors, funds, and individuals who bought shares after the company went public on Nasdaq.
You can use your insurance to access therapy online. With the rise in telehealth use during the COVID-19 pandemic, online therapy has more options than ever.
You can 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.