Does Health Insurance Cover Online Therapy?
Online Therapy Works
The popularity of online therapy has surged since the onset of the pandemic in 2020. While the pandemic was certainly a catalyst for the push to virtual therapy, people are still enjoying the convenience and comfort online therapy can provide, among other benefits.
Beyond its convenience, research shows that online therapy is effective at treating a wide range of presenting problems, and patient satisfaction in online therapy matches that of in-person therapy.
Understandably, estimation of cost is important for online therapy seekers. Especially because meetings with your therapist most typically occur once a week or so, the expense of therapy can quickly add up when the bill is steep.
The most significant factor in the out-of-pocket cost of therapy is insurance coverage; if your health insurance covers your therapy appointments, the cost will likely be significantly reduced. The good news is that many insurance plans do in fact cover mental health benefits including online therapy.
Be aware, however, that not all online therapy platforms will accept insurance. For example, some subscription-based online-only therapy platforms will require subscribers to pay out-of-pocket.
Verifying Benefits and Finding a Therapist
So how do you know if your insurance will cover your online therapy? There are two main variables: your specific health insurance plan coverage for both therapy and online therapy, and whether your therapist is in-network with that plan.
If you want to do your own research to find out if your health insurance covers therapy, you have several options. You can log in or create an account on your health insurance plan’s website and find information about your specific plan’s coverage. You can also call the phone number on the back of your insurance card; sometimes there will be a specific phone number for verifying mental health benefits. Either way, you should be able to get detailed information about your coverage, deductible, and any out-of-pocket costs you should expect. Once you’ve verified that you have coverage for mental health services, you’ll want to make sure you find a therapist who is in-network with your plan.
Alternatively, you may be able to skip these steps by going through a service that provides insurance verification as part of the intake process. For example, Great Lakes Psychology Group will verify for your insurance, verify that your therapist is in-network with your plan, and provide you with an estimated cost for services before your first appointment so there are no surprises.