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August 3, 2022
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Finding a therapist can be an overwhelming experience, especially when you're deciding to seek professional help for the first time. Not only will you need to consider the right type of therapy for you, but you'll also need to build a therapeutic alliance (or align on treatment goals) with your therapist to get the most out of your session—but it's well worth it. 

Your mental health is a key part of your overall health, which makes taking care of it just as essential as nourishing your body with nutritious foods or soothing your soul with meditation. Unfortunately, it can also be expensive, like other well-being services. 

Instead of skipping therapy altogether, finding an option that works within your budget is key to accessing services without negatively affecting your financial health. Online therapy is one of the easiest ways to save, as these companies don't need to pay for brick-and-mortar locations. 

Many online therapy services also take insurance, which allows you to make the most of your health care plan. In fact, the online portals often make it easier to find a medical practitioner within your network than a traditional web search.

Quick List:

Most affordable
TalkspaceGo to review
Best for video
MDLiveGo to review
Best for holistic care
Doctor on DemandGo to review
Best for couples
AmwellGo to review

How to find out whether an online therapy provider accepts your insurance.

Once you've selected the right online service for you, the sign-on process typically entails sharing your goals for therapy, as well as any mental health concerns, through an intro questionnaire. 

During this time, online therapy services that take insurance also allow you to select your provider. The system then automatically narrows down your specialist search to medical practitioners who are in-network. If a company does not work with your insurance plan, it should notify you during the selection process. 

Just remember this isn't always the case with online therapy services; the options that we've rounded up below allow you to choose your insurance as you're setting up your profile, ensuring you never see a therapist who isn't covered under your plan. However some brands do not take insurance, so they may suggest a provider without factoring in your health insurance.

The pros & cons of online therapy.

Regardless of where you choose to complete your therapy sessions, taking care of your mental health is the ultimate goal. A safe environment purely for a therapist and patient may be a comfort for some, while others may crave the comfort of their own homes. 

You can't go wrong either way; a 2017 study1 found that internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy was just as effective (and more cost-effective) for the treatment and management of various psychiatric disorders. Some other factors to consider include:

Pros:
  • Large network of therapists to choose from for your independent needs
  • Wide range of communication options including video, phone, and text
  • Medication management without going into an office regularly
Cons:
  • Varying communication methods aren't available on all platforms
  • Online assessments may match you with a therapist instead of allowing you to choose
  • Not all outlets are transparent with pricing

How we picked:

Availability

Online services should make it easier to find a therapist who’s available when you are, so we prioritized services that offer a range of communication styles and meeting times.

Specialities

We looked for services that offer therapists with a range of certifications and specialties (though all staff must be licensed).

Budget

Even if services accept insurance, prices can vary. We selected options that fit a variety of budgets.

Reviews & Ratings

We considered customer reviews and reviews from sources like the Better Business Bureau.

mbg's picks for the best online therapy services that accept insurance of 2022:

Most affordable: Talkspace

Pros:

  • Offer different levels of subscription plans
  • Large network of therapists available
  • Specialists for a variety of age ranges

Cons:

  • Unused video sessions do not carry over month to month
  • Low customer reviews on BBB
Common accepted insurance: OptumCignaGatorCareBlue Cross Blue Shield
Session types: Live videoText messagingVideo MessageAudio Call
Gender-affirming care: Yes

Talkspace offers a variety of subscription plans, allowing you to find the right amount of mental health support for your needs. The most basic subscription allows you to opt in for text therapy, which includes text, video, and audio messaging. Upgrade to the premium plan to add one 30-minute live therapy session or opt for the ultimate plan to unlock four 30-minute live video appointments. 

While the brand also offers psychiatric care and counseling plans for teens between the ages of 13 and 17, therapy is its most prominent service. The company employs licensed and credentialed therapists, psychiatrists, medical doctors, and couples' therapists who are all required to have at least 3,000 hours of clinical experience. Another perk? The staff also undergoes third-party checks to ensure their licenses are in good standing.

When you're ready to sign on, you'll watch a short intro video and start the intake process. Once you've selected your plan, Talkspace uses your goals and preferences to suggest a therapist, which you can easily swap at any time. The exact response time for conversations varies by practitioner, but the company requires at least one response a day at least five days a week. 

Some customers have reported a few days of lag time between the time they set up their profile and the time they're matched with a therapist (although the company says you should hear from your therapist within 48 hours). 

In addition to taking some Employee Assistant Programs (EPAs), Talkspace also accepts common health insurance plans, such as Optum, Blue Cross, and Cigna. Access the full list here

Cost: $316 to $556

Best for video: MDLive

Pros:

  • Accepts most popular insurance networks
  • Range of therapists with different specialities
  • Fully licensed staff
  • Medication management handled through phone or video

Cons:

  • Pricey initial appointment
  • Registration happens before seeing if they accept your plan
  • No subscription plans or discounts
Common accepted insurance: CignaHumanaAetnaBlue Cross Blue Shield
Session types: Live videoAudio Call
Gender-affirming care: Yes

If you'd rather conduct your therapy sessions through phone instead of just video chat, MDLive is your best best. The service offers comprehensive medical and mental health services via video chat and works with a wide range of insurance partners, including Aetna and Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Along with physicians, the 24/7 services employ both board-certified therapists and psychiatrists, allowing them to offer both behavioral health care and medication management. The overall sign-on process is relatively lengthy with in-depth questions about your current needs and family psychiatric history. You'll then receive a list of current providers in your state, which gives you the authority to find the right person. Luckily, it's easy to switch medical practitioners until you find your match—just be warned that wait time before your session will vary drastically by location.

While there are no monthly subscription plans and the initial visit is a little steep, MDLive makes it easy for doctors participating in the service to share records if you need to be connected with another specialist. Trustpilot also gave this service a 4.6 out of 5, which is pretty darn near perfect.

Cost: $284 for first visit, $108 for follow-ups

Best for holistic care: Doctor on Demand

Pros:

  • Therapist bios available
  • Service for adults & children
  • Medication management available

Cons:

  • Pricey initial visit
  • Hard to find accepted insurance plans
  • No discounts
Common accepted insurance: MedicaidMedica
Session types: Live video
Gender-affirming care: Yes

Doctor on Demand offers a huge range of doctors across specialties, which makes it a great option if you're looking for collaborative care. This more holistic approach provides you with a comprehensive treatment plan that also connects you with nutritionists and internists.

Following this line of personalized care, the virtual services also connect you directly with therapists that specialize in different therapy approaches, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), psychoanalytic psychotherapy, motivational interviewing, and trauma-focused therapy. Plus, all staff have completed at least a master's degree in their field and are licensed in their respective states. Similar to Talkspace, all medical practitioners also undergo background checks.

Founded by Dr. Phil and his son, the online platform accepts health insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid, but you'll have to start the registration process to confirm that you're covered.

Cost: $299 for initial visit, follow-ups are $129

Best for couples: Amwell

Pros:

  • Therapists offer flexible schedules
  • Wide range of insurances accepted

Cons:

  • No subscription plans
  • Live video sessions only
Common accepted insurance: AetnaBlue Cross Blue ShieldMedicaAnthemEmblem HealthiCare
Session types: Live video
Gender-affirming care: Yes

Couples' therapy is key to improving your communication as a couple while also creating a deeper understanding in your relationship—but many online couples' therapy services don't accept insurance. Amwell stands out from its competitors by making couples' therapy as accessible as possible and even prioritizes flexibility to ensure both parties feel heard throughout the process.

This means that you can easily swap therapists to find one that best suits you as a couple, especially if you don't love the one you're matched with. One thing you won't need to worry about? All therapists have at least a master's degree, and psychologists have a licensed doctorate. Both parties are also licensed to practice in their states and undergo virtual training on prevention and treatment techniques.

Nearly all of the therapists also offer flexibility in terms of session type and meeting times, which is a particularly great feature for couples. They also offer short-term couples counseling in case you don't want to sign on for the long haul.

Cost: $99 to $110

Best for kids: LiveHealth Online

Pros:

  • Offers medication management
  • Specialists for kids ages 10 to 17

Cons:

  • No medication management for kids
  • No subscription plans
  • Only offer partial coverage for providers other than Blue Cross Blue Shield
Common accepted insurance: Blue Cross Blue Shield
Session types: Live video
Gender-affirming care: Yes

When dealing with insurance, the fewer plans and services, the better. LiveHealth makes things less complicated by offering services to teens and kids between the ages of 10 and 17, as well as full collaborative care for your physical well-being.

Before the first session, you'll have the choice to select either a licensed therapist or psychiatrist depending on the care needed. The latter will be located in your state, which makes medication management possible but is only available to those above the age of 18. All psychotherapy is done by licensed mental health professionals who can help with issues like stress, depression, grief, and anxiety with services available during the day, night, or weekend.

After the initial visit, all sessions cost $75 before insurance; only Blue Cross Blue Shields offers full coverage, while other insurance plans provide partial coverage of your care.

Cost: $175 for initial visit, $75 for follow-ups

FAQ

Does online insurance take Medicare or Medicaid?

Online therapy providers accept any traditional forms of insurance, so Medicare and Medicaid are included.

Do online therapy providers take insurance?

Not only do many online therapy providers take insurance, they make it super easy to find medical practitioners covered under your plan. This is great news for people who hate the rigamarole that typically comes along with searching for a care provider.

The takeaway.

The rise of mental health concerns means there's never been a more important time to consider this integral part of your well-being. Not only is online therapy a convenient way to take into account your overall health, but many services also take insurance so you can feel OK about skipping out on an in-office visit. Finding the right pick for you comes down to what insurance plan you have and the company that best aligns with your needs because the right treatment for you comes down to your individual needs and desires.

Meet The Experts

Brittany Loggins is a freelance writer covering health, wellness, and all things lifestyle.