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Access to online therapy depends on your insurance coverage and location. Most insurance companies cover online therapy services, but many require video for therapy. Also, if your insurance does not cover online therapy, there are other options, such as free therapy sites.
Online therapy offers an innovative way to connect with a licensed therapist from your own home conveniently. It provides accessibility if you:
Today, many states require insurance providers to cover online mental health therapy the same as traditional therapy sessions. There are plenty of options for online therapy that accept insurance or offer self-pay rates that may work with your budget.
Until recently, it was not possible to use health insurance for virtual therapy visits. Now, many online therapy platforms and mental health professionals are seeing clients virtually, and many accept insurance.
A phone call to your insurance company is a great starting point to see which resources are available to you. Your therapist can send you intake paperwork and ensure that the therapy is covered before the first session.
The best place to start is the website of the therapy provider, which may indicate which insurance companies the provider works with. Another option is to call your insurance company to determine if telehealth visits are covered and what the copayments are. Below are some of the major insurance companies and their current policies regarding telehealth:
According to apaservices.org, the following states have a telehealth mandate in place, and all telehealth services are billed the same way as face-to-face services:
With equitable coverage, the same copay and deductible requirements apply to online therapy as in-person sessions. Some copays are waived during the pandemic but depend on insurance. Other states have specific mandates in place regarding telehealth. You can click here to see if the telehealth option is mandated in your state.
Medicare telehealth visits include office visits, psychotherapy, consultation, and other medical or health services offered by a provider located elsewhere using 2-way real-time audio and video technology. Most Medicare and Medicaid plans cover telehealth, but coverage varies by state and plan.
According to the Center for Connected Health Policy, Medicaid covers online therapy in each state except for Iowa. It’s still a good idea to call and confirm online therapy is covered through your specific plan before connecting with an online therapist.
There are several ways to find online therapy or a therapist who offers online sessions.
There are several free online therapy options. However, use caution when seeking free online therapy, as the platforms are often more of a peer support model than trained therapy. Trained online therapists may be available at an additional cost.
Many different online therapy websites offer a monthly plan or bundle that is affordable when not using insurance. You might choose to avoid using insurance benefits for therapy if you have a high deductible or the copay is close to the cost of the therapy session.
Another consideration is that most therapists have spots in their schedule for sliding scale fee clients. For example, if their typical fee is $100 per session, they may slide their fee down to $60 depending on the situation.
See below for a list of quality, affordable online therapy options:
There are also specialized websites such as Faithful Counseling, Teen Counseling, and Pride Counseling.
Learn more from the sources used in this article: