Will my insurance pay BetterHelp?
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BetterHelp is an online subscription service offering virtual mental health therapy sessions. The company does not accept insurance and most private medical insurers do not cover the costs of BetterHelp. However, a person may be entitled to reduced rates if they have a low income.
This article describes BetterHelp and details some expected online counseling costs. It also explores other affordable options and provides advice for people who may be experiencing mental health crises or need immediate help.
BetterHelp is an online therapy platform that connects people with licensed therapists with Masters or PhD degrees in their field. The company says its therapists also have a minimum of 3 years and 1,000 hours of practical experience.
Therapists are available to help adults, couples, and teens with a variety of conditions, including:
Those interested in using BetterHelp’s services must complete a multiple choice questionnaire which allows the company to suggest a match of therapists. A person attends virtual sessions via their computer, tablet or smartphone, and they can request to change therapists at any time.
Additionally, BetterHelp states that its therapy sessions are confidential and that users can delete messages from their accounts.
Who cannot benefit from the services of BetterHelp?
According to BetterHelp, its therapy sessions are not suitable for people who:
- having thoughts of hurting yourself or others
- need urgent care
- have a serious mental health problem
- require psychological monitoring or psychiatric care
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) gives the company a 4.15 out of 5 and an A rating. People say online therapy platform is convenient for those who cannot attend visits in person.
Trustpilot gives BetterHelp a rating of 4.5 out of 5 possible stars.
Positive reviews mention that a person can seek another therapist if they find their current one is not suitable. Reviewers also say they like the app’s convenience for scheduling sessions and updating logs.
However, some less favorable reviews note delays in receiving messages as advisers may not respond quickly. Other users say the company has not put them in touch with a licensed therapist.
BetterHelp is a subscription service. As of August 2021, it costs between $ 55 and $ 100 per week, billed every 4 weeks.
A person can cancel the subscription if they no longer need the services of the platform.
The company offers financial aid, which allows a person to attend therapy sessions online at a reduced cost.
The initial questionnaire asks individuals if they are unemployed, have a low income, or are in financial difficulty. They can also describe their financial situation. If the company grants financial assistance, a person must apply for it every 3 months.
Most private medical insurers, as well as Medicare and Medicaid, do not cover BetterHelp mental health services. However, the company says the sessions it offers are more affordable than in-person tours.
Coverage for mental health-related services can vary widely depending on the insurance provider, insurance plan, and a person’s location. To confirm coverage for general mental health services, a person should contact their insurer directly.
Mental health services are also available for those without insurance. Learn more here.
How to Check Your Insurance Plan for Mental Health Coverage
In addition to contacting an insurance provider directly, the American Psychological Association recommends that a person consult their insurance plan’s benefit table to determine coverage for mental health services.
If a person has taken out insurance with their employer, they can request confirmation of the benefits from their human resources department.
Certain reimbursable charges may apply to a person’s insurance plan if it covers mental health services. For example, they should consider whether their plan has a deductible, which is the amount a person pays out of pocket before an insurance company pays a claim.
How to find a therapist covered by your insurance
Most insurers will provide a list of network physicians or participants and other health professionals. A person can also call or visit the website of a specific mental health professional to determine if they are working with a certain insurer.
Databases such as the American Psychological Association’s Psychologists Locator and the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy Therapist Locator can help individuals find therapists.
Other affordable treatment options include:
- Support groups. These focus on a particular problem or condition, such as addiction, depression, or anxiety. A licensed mental health professional facilitates the sessions and the group shares their experiences. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) offers a family support group, running weekly or monthly sessions.
- Therapists on a sliding scale. A sliding scale means that the fees depend on an individual’s income. For example, if a person has a lower income, they pay a lower cost for therapy sessions.
- College mental health services. Some colleges offer free or discounted counseling sessions for students.
- Mental health centers. These centers offer free and low cost sessions. The
Centers for Disaster Control and Preventioncan help find a mental health center.
A mental health crisis is a situation where a person has a significant risk of hurting themselves or others and cannot take care of themselves.
According to Mind, a UK-based mental health organization, some reasons a person might be experiencing a crisis include:
- exam stress
- Financial difficulty
Additionally, NAMI notes that those going through a mental health crisis may experience:
- inability to bathe, brush hair, or change clothes
- violent behavior
- rapid mood changes
- inability to recognize family and friends
NAMI recommends that a person call a psychiatrist or therapist if they think they are having a mental health crisis but are not in immediate danger. The mental health professional will assess the situation and determine the best course of action.
However, a person should call 911 or their local emergency number if their life is in danger. Emergency responders can send an appropriate medical professional who specializes in mental health issues.
BetterHelp is an online platform that offers therapy sessions for adults, couples and adolescents. It offers a subscription service and financial assistance for those in financial difficulty.
The company doesn’t accept insurance, but says its virtual consulting tours cost less than in-person tours.
A person may seek out other low cost or free therapy options, such as support groups and sliding scale therapists.