Everything You Need To Know About Online Therapy and Insurance
Updated August 11, 2021
Medically Reviewed By: Audrey Kelly, LMFT
Introduction To Digital Therapy Costs
Many people are putting off getting much-needed counseling because they’re concerned about the costs. As mental health advocacy grows and more people understand counseling benefits, more options are opening up for people to manage counseling costs and get behavioral coverage.
The good news is that major health providers like Blue Cross Blue Shield are jumping on the bandwagon and providing behavioral health coverage options for in-person and remote counseling services as a part of their health care benefits package. In this article, we help you understand the cost of counseling by summarizing counseling coverage and remote counseling coverage benefits. Finally, we provide you with a brief overview of what happens in today’s counseling sessions.
So, how much does counseling cost? A big part of understanding the cost of counseling is understanding the limits of insurance coverage. If you’re lucky enough to have a health insurance provider that will pay therapists and covers the cost of behavioral health and counseling sessions online, congratulations! You’re a member of a newly emerging group of insured that can enjoy these benefits.
How Does Insurance Cover Online Therapy?
Major healthcare insurance providers like Blue Cross Blue Shield offer their members coverage for behavioral health services online with licensed and certified providers. BCBS members can get online therapy support for chronic mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder (BPD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from the privacy and comfort of their own homes or other selected environments.
Major health insurance coverage for online therapy varies by state. Check with your health insurance provider to learn what benefits you may qualify for under your plans’ behavioral health benefits. Online behavioral health benefits operate like their offline counterparts, providing that clients participate in online therapy sessions with licensed therapists authorized by the plan. Coverage for therapy can be complicated.
Always check with your behavioral health benefits provider before scheduling sessions with a licensed provider to learn your health benefits coverages.
How Much Does Out-Of-Pocket Online Therapy Cost?
How much does therapy cost out of pocket? The average cost of therapy or rate for therapy depends, in part, on where it occurs. In-office therapy sessions with licensed practitioners currently range between $65.00 and $200.00 per session. Factors that affect the costs include graphical location, therapy education and experience, concurrent conditions, and specialty practice.
Mental health clients who live in major cities or states with a high cost-of-living index can expect to pay more for online mental health care services in their state than behavioral health clients in cities and states with a lower cost of living.
Three Counseling Payment Options
- Free / Low-Cost counseling – free or low-cost therapy is an income-based payment option that provides low, reduced cost, or free therapy to income-qualified mental health clients. Free or low-cost therapy can also be offered through organizations like nonprofits. In some cases, free therapy may be available to individuals through organizations like universities. In general, free or low-cost therapy can encompass different types of services. You can speak to practitioners or healthcare professionals about how to best seek out free or low-cost options.
- Sliding Fee Scale – Also, an income form-based payment option, sliding-fee scale therapy provides services based on client income. These therapists don’t charge patients the same standard rate. They may offer therapy at a reduced rate compared to the average cost of treatment.
- Standard Counseling Fees – These are standard out-of-pocket fees that offline and online therapy providers charge. Therapists charge per session or hour generally. We consider these fees reasonable and customary and range from $35 – $200.00 per hour or session.
In-office Counseling Sessions – The Basics
Four Ways To Get Online Therapy
- Web Therapy – This form of distance therapy involves a client and board-certified or licensed therapists meeting virtually via the therapy platform. Clients and therapists connect via private video chat sessions similar to Skype from the comfort and privacy of the location of their choosing.
- Texting / Chat Therapy – This is the most popular form of online therapy because of its ease of use. They conduct texting therapy sessions via mobile phone apps where both users (the client and the therapist in this case) log in to their apps and begin texting therapy sessions within a private text chat room.
- Phone Therapy – Clients and therapists exchange phone numbers or agree to call into a conference calling service with a universally shared number to have voice chat sessions via phone.
- Video Chat Therapy
"My experience with Priscilla has been immensely helpful in better understanding myself and providing me with the tools to see my life and relationships with more clarity and compassion."
“Shannon is very knowledgeable, and skilled in knowing how to use that knowledge to help others. She is also very compassionate and encouraging. I was skeptical about using a counseling service, but this experience has been incredible. I highly recommend Shannon to anyone who needs guidance or help through a difficult time in life. I gave her some enormous challenges, and nothing has been over her head. She has been a tremendous help to me.”
- RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network) – 1-800-656-4673
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-8255
- National Domestic Violence Hotline – 1-800-799-7233
- NAMI Helpline (National Alliance on Mental Illness) – 1-800-950-6264
For more information on mental health, please see:
- SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) SAMHSA Facebook, SAMHSA Twitter, SAMHSA LinkedIn
- Mental Health America, MHA Twitter, MHA Facebook, MHA Instagram, MHA Pinterest, MHA LinkedIn
- WebMD, WebMD Facebook, WebMD Twitter, WebMD Pinterest, WebMD LinkedIn
- NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health), NIMH Facebook, NIMH Twitter, NIMH YouTube, NIMH LinkedIn
- APA (American Psychiatric Association), APA Twitter, APA Facebook, APA LinkedIn, APA Instagram
- Emergency: 911
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1- 800-799-7233
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- National Hopeline Network: 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433)
- Crisis Text Line: Text “DESERVE” TO 741-741
- Lifeline Crisis Chat (Online live messaging): https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/
- Self-Harm Hotline: 1-800-DONT CUT (366-8288)
- Family Violence Helpline: 1-800-996-6228
- Planned Parenthood Hotline: 1-800-230-PLAN (7526)
- American Association of Poison Control Centers: 1-800-222-1222
- National Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependency Hope Line: 1-800-622-2255
- National Crisis Line – Anorexia and Bulimia: 1-800-233-4357
- LGBTQ+ Hotline: 1-888-843-4564
- TREVOR Crisis Hotline: 1-866-488-7386
- AIDS Crisis Line: 1-800-221-7044
- Veterans Crisis Line: https://www.veteranscrisisline.net
- TransLifeline: https://www.translifeline.org – 877-565-8860 APA Youtube
- Suicide Prevention Wiki: http://suicideprevention.wikia.com
- Couples Therapy Cost: Finding the Right Counseling Therapist to Provide Couples Therapy and Counseling
- An Online Therapist Can Help You Communicate With Your Partner
- How To Find A Therapist That’s Right For Your Relationship
- How To Check If A Therapist Is Licensed To Practice Online Therapy In Your State
- Use Online Couples Counseling To Get Your Relationship Back On Track
Previous ArticleWhy You Have No Motivation To Do Anything (And What You Can Do About It)
Next ArticleHow Much Does Therapy Cost? (Hint, It's Less Than You Think!)
Anxiety Attachment Attraction Chat Counseling Dating Depression Divorce Domestic Violence Engagement Family Friendship General How To Infidelity Intimacy Love Marriage Online Dating Parenting Psychology Relationship Singleness Therapist
DD Personality Traits: Does Your D&D Character Reflect You? Can Stress Cause Spotting? The Dangers Of Attention Seeking Behavior? 6 Fitness Motivation Tips To Start You On Your Fitness Journey What Is The Difference Between A Sociopath And A Narcissistic Sociopath? What Do I Do When I Am Feeling Alone And Need Someone To Talk to?