4 Best Online Therapy Platforms That Take Insurance in 2023

We reviewed the online therapy platforms that take insurance. Our top picks for online therapy that takes insurance are Talkspace, Brightside, MDLive, and LiveHealth. Here's why.

This content is researched and written based on extensive testing by an external reviews team and does not reflect the views or opinions of Everyday Health’s editorial team. Everyday Health may earn a commission from purchases of products featured in this article.

Best Online Therapy That Takes Insurance at a Glance

Before 2020, the idea of seeing a therapist online might have seemed like a strange concept. But today, online therapy platforms are increasingly being used to help therapists address a spike in mental health care needs. According to the American Psychological Association, psychologists saw 84 percent more patients with anxiety disorders and 72 percent more patients with depressive disorders in October 2021 than they did before the pandemic — with most psychologists treating patients virtually. Even though there are a variety of online therapy apps to help address this need, none of them will be of any use if you can’t afford to pay for them. If you’re looking for the best online therapy that takes health insurance, here are the top platforms.

  • Most Accessible Online Therapy: Talkspace
  • Best Online Therapy and Psychiatry That Takes Insurance: Brightside
  • Best Online Therapy for Specialized Care: MDLive
  • Best Online Therapy for Children That Takes Insurance: LiveHealth Online

Compare Online Therapy That Takes Insurance

Provider
Monthly Cost
Session Types
Insurance Accepted
Learn More
Talkspace transparent logo
$260 to $436, depending on the plan
Text, audio, and video messages; live video; live workshops
Optum, Blue Cross, Cigna, GatorCare, and many employer-based plans; check the Talkspace website for list of the carriers accepted
Brightside transparent logo
$299 to $349 for therapy, depending on the plan; $95 for psychiatry only
Live video
Aetna, Cigna, United Healthcare, and certain regional plans; use its insurance checker to verify coverage
MDLive transparent logo
$284 for the first psychiatrist visit, $108 for follow-up visits; $108 for online counseling
Live video and phone
Cigna, Humana, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, and others; create a free account to check coverage
Live Health online transparent logo
$175 for the first psychiatrist visit, $75 for follow-up visits; $80 for an online therapist; $95 for an online psychologist
Live video
Blue Cross Blue Shield; possibility of partial coverage for out-of-network carriers

Why You Can Trust Our Best Online Therapy That Takes Insurance Review

We independently investigate and recommend products and services we believe will enrich the lives of our readers and meet their specific needs. We’ve spent many hours carrying out in-depth research on the online therapy market. You can trust our reviews because we did the legwork for you in these specific ways:

  • Engaged in ongoing independent research
  • Spent over 250 hours testing eight brands, deployed surveys that included over 200 participants each, and interviewed focus groups
  • Went behind the paywall for two months with eight brands to mystery shop our best online therapy choices
  • Contacted the brands’ customer service teams to ask questions and gauge responsiveness
  • Consulted six leading psychologists and psychiatrists
  • Became customers of online therapy providers ourselves
  • Reviewed academic research about the efficacy of online therapy versus in-person therapy
  • Read hundreds of verified customer reviews from trusted third parties such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Trustpilot
Talkspace transparent logo

Most Accessible Online Therapy

Talkspace

Reviews Team Rating
3.6

Talkspace operates under the principle that your mental health needs shouldn't be paused just because you don't have instant access to a counselor at all times. That’s why the platform offers an unlimited messaging plan that allows users to message their counselors as things come up throughout the day instead of waiting for a live session.

Editor’s Choice

Session Types Video, text, and phone sessions; unlimited messaging; live workshops

Price and Payment Options $69 to $109 per week for therapy, $299 for the initial psychiatric visit and $175 for follow-ups; accepts credit cards

Accepts Insurance Yes

Our Experience Our tester was impressed with how quickly Talkspace matched them with a counselor. They also found that Talkspace promo codes made the service cheaper than using their out-of-network private insurance. Therapist response times varied, except for the guaranteed morning and evening check-ins.

Pros

  • Offers medication management
  • Various price tiers to choose from
  • Many options for therapy communication methods, including text, audio, and video messaging as well as live sessions
  • Choice of several providers offered

Cons

  • Live video sessions not available on all tiers
  • May be delays in responses to messages
Users are matched with therapists initially but can switch anytime. When our reviews team interviewed online therapy users, a Talkspace user said there were many licensed therapists to choose from on the platform.

Session Types

Talkspace offers two session formats to choose from:

Use Talkspace promo code "EVERYDAY85" for $85 off your first month.
EVERYDAY85
Brightside transparent logo

Best Online Therapy and Psychiatry That Takes Insurance

Brightside

Our Rating
4.1

Brightside offers cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and psychiatry in all 50 states and is in-network nationwide for several major insurance carriers like Aetna, United Healthcare, and Cigna. It also accepts certain regional plans, like Anthem of California. You can use the Brightside insurance checker to verify coverage.

Session Types Video sessions and unlimited messaging

Price and Payment Options $75 to $88 weekly for therapy; $95 per month for psychiatry plan only, plus $15 for pharmacy copay per medication; accepts credit cards

Accepts Insurance Yes

Our Experience Our Brightside tester was impressed with the level of customer service provided by both customer representatives and their therapist. When their first therapist match didn’t work out, they were quickly able to match with a better fit. However, they found that 45-minute sessions weren’t long enough.

Pros

  • In-network with Aetna, Cigna, United Healthcare, and certain regional plans
  • Therapy and psychiatry available in every state
  • Uses a unique technology called PrecisionRX that recommends the most effective medication for your symptoms
  • All plans include unlimited messaging with your provider
  • Therapy sessions are 45 minutes long
  • Has an app for iOS phones

Cons

  • Ability to switch therapists is not guaranteed
  • Only offers video therapy
  • Does not have an app for Android phones
  • Psychiatry sessions are only 30 minutes long

Session Types

Brightside only offers video therapy sessions. If you choose a plan that includes therapy, you will have 45-minute sessions every week. Every Brightside therapist uses a CBT approach to therapy, which has been demonstrated as an effective treatment for issues like depression

Use Brightside promo code "EDH60" for $60 off your first month of cash plans.
EDH60
MDLive transparent logo

Best for Specialized Care

MDLive

MDLive is a comprehensive online medical platform that connects users with both mental health care professionals and nonemergency medical care via telehealth for issues like migraine, pink eye, and sinus infections. MDLive also has psychiatrists on its platform, meaning users can get a prescription if advised as part of a treatment plan. MDLive is the best option for finding specialized mental health support that accepts insurance.

Session Types Video and phone sessions

Price and Payment Options $284 for the initial visit and $108 per follow-up visit; accepts credit cards

Accepts Insurance Yes

Pros

  • Ability to choose your own therapist
  • Can provide medication management
  • Wide range of services offered

Cons

  • Primarily for medication management
  • No monthly subscription plans
  • Email and text options not available

When you search for a licensed therapist on the platform, you can filter your search by a range of specialties, including issues related to chronic pain, grief or loss, hoarding, internet addiction, pregnancy or infertility, sex therapy, video game addiction, and eating disorders

Live Health online transparent logo

Best Online Therapy for Children That Takes Insurance

LiveHealth Online

Most online therapy services only serve adults. Some platforms offer therapy to children ages 13 and older, but LiveHealth Online will provide online therapy for children as young as 10. Make sure that this type of therapy is right for your child and their needs. For example, if they are having difficulty managing their feelings or are feeling anxious, angry, or sad, online therapy may be beneficial, according to The Family Institute at Northwestern University.

Session Types Video sessions

Price and Payment Options $80 per session with an online therapist, $95 per session with an online psychologist, and $175 for an initial psychiatric visit and $75 for follow-ups, plus prescription costs; accepts Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express debit and credit cards

Accepts Insurance Yes

Pros

  • Offers therapy for children between age 10 and 17
  • Can provide medication management

Cons

  • Medication management offered for adults only
  • No monthly plans offered
  • Email and text options not available

Keep in mind, though, that online therapy isn’t for everyone. “While many therapists have successfully engaged children in online therapy, especially during the pandemic, and have done so with much success, it may be harder for kids to remain engaged online,” says Sarah Epstein

How to Find Online Therapy Services Covered by Your Insurance

Most online therapy providers indicate on their site what forms of insurance they take. If your health insurance provider isn’t listed, you can call the number on the back of your insurance card or look on your insurance website to see whether they cover online therapy and from which providers.

Is Online Counseling Covered by Medicare?

Under the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, Medicare plans are required to include online therapy. Medicare Part B will cover online therapy and charge the same for it as in-person therapy. To see if an online counseling platform accepts Medicare, check its website or reach out to customer service.

Is There Online Therapy That Takes Medicaid?

Different states have different rules about covering online therapy under Medicaid, so you need to check your state’s Medicaid plan to see if you can get online therapy with Medicaid. If your plan does cover online therapy, the platform you’re interested in will usually indicate on its website whether it accepts Medicaid.

Other Ways to Save on Online Therapy

If your insurance doesn’t cover online therapy, check with your employer. They may offer an employee assistance program that covers some visits with an online therapy provider. Many online therapy platforms offer a free trial of their services or a monthly subscription plan that may save you money. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) also offers various resources for those who are having trouble affording therapy, such as a list of prescription assistance programs for psychiatric medications. Additionally, your local NAMI affiliate may be able to connect you with housing resources and support.

Pros and Cons of Online Therapy

Pros

  • Easier to fit into your schedule than in-person appointments
  • Ability to write to your therapist about problems as they come up with some providers instead of waiting for weekly sessions
  • No need to travel

Cons

  • May not receive instant responses from a provider, unless sessions are live
  • Most only serve individuals age 18 and older
  • Not always covered by insurance
  • Requires individuals to be comfortable talking in a digital or video format

Who Is Online Therapy For?

Online therapy is best for those who are comfortable using technology to communicate and who are potentially willing to pay out of pocket. On the other hand, if you prefer discussing issues in person or don’t have a strong internet connection, online therapy might not be right for you.

In addition, online therapy is not for individuals who have thoughts of hurting themselves or others, as they need immediate professional care. Individuals with severe mental health issues like mania, psychosis, and traumatic stress response may consider consulting with a professional before engaging in online therapy, since telehealth for people in distress can be challenging, according to an article published in January 2020 in the Journal of Psychotherapy Integration. In case of an emergency or plans to harm yourself or others, call 911.

Some aspects of online therapy and in-person therapy are universal. “The most important factor to know before choosing a therapist, online or otherwise, is fit, both in terms of personality and their approach to treatment,” says Aaron Weiner, PhD, a licensed, board-certified psychologist and master addiction counselor in Chicago. “The biggest difference between online therapy and in-person therapy is that it’s easier to be distracted or disengaged online — all the normal distractions in your environment are still there,” he says.

Specifically, online therapy can help with a wide variety of conditions and concerns:

What to Consider Before Purchasing an Online Therapy Subscription

Whether you’re going with an online therapy subscription or paying per visit, there are several things you should know about the plan you are interested in. Take notice of the prices for various providers on the online therapy platform (you’ll probably have to pay more if you need to see a psychiatrist). If you’re allowed to choose a provider from a group of them, make sure they have experience treating your specific concerns, such as depression, anxiety, or certain phobias, for example. You should also make sure that you have space at home to participate in your appointments in a private area without distractions.

How to Prepare for Your First Online Therapy Appointment

To make your first online therapy appointment easier for both yourself and your therapist, consider the following tips:

  • Be ready to share your medical history. You don’t need to share every single illness you’ve ever had, but you should at least have a basic rundown of your mental health history and past treatment.
  • Check any equipment you’re going to use for your visit beforehand, so you know it is working properly.
  • Find a private space in your home where you can talk to someone without others overhearing.
  • Make a list of the topics you want to cover and refer to it when speaking to your therapist.
  • Make a list of questions to ask your therapist, like how long they’ve been in practice and how much experience they have in dealing with issues like yours.

How We Chose the Best Online Therapy That Takes Insurance

Our reviews team determined our top picks for the best virtual therapy covered by insurance based on the following criteria:

  • Cost We chose companies that provide a range of costs, with a preference for companies that offer at least one budget-friendly plan.
  • Customer Service Exemplary customer service is crucial to a virtual service like online therapy. We contacted each company on this list via phone or email to verify their responsiveness and helpfulness. We paid close attention to whether customer service teams answered promptly, shared their name, and worked to resolve our issue.
  • Customer Satisfaction We recorded each company’s score on BBB and Trustpilot and read countless reviews to get a sense of overall customer satisfaction. We paid close attention to whether companies responded to complaints and negative reviews, how long it took them to respond, and whether the customers found the resolution satisfactory.
  • Modes of Therapy We researched the modes of therapy offered and favored companies with multiple types of therapy, such as CBT and psychoanalysis, for the user to choose from.
  • Therapist Credentials We verified the credentials of each company’s therapists. We prioritized companies with diverse therapy teams (such as psychologists, psychiatrists, licensed marriage and family therapists, licensed clinical social workers, licensed professional therapists, and licensed mental health counselors) and with therapists who have particular expertise in their field (such as couples counselors or counselors trained in CBT).
  • Years in Operation We examined companies that have been in operation for a long period of time as well as ones that have served as disruptors in the marketplace.
  • System Usability and Access The online therapy system should be easy to use and intuitive. Companies should, ideally, offer multiple formats for their therapy sessions and make it easy to switch therapists or cancel subscriptions altogether.
  • Ease of Registration Companies should have an easy registration process that puts as much control into the user’s hands as possible. That includes a streamlined registration process with, ideally, control over who your therapist is and when you can meet with them.

How We Research and Evaluate the Best Online Therapy That Takes Insurance

Our reviews team extensively scrutinizes virtual therapy covered by insurance to make sure we only recommend those we believe will make a difference to our readers. Together, we’ve researched prominent brands by mystery shopping the platforms, understanding the experiences of real customers, and consulting with independent mental health professionals to better understand why people seek out online therapy. Our method includes going past the paywall to test online psychiatrist platforms for ourselves, conducting in-depth interviews with focus groups, and deploying surveys to gain real customer insights.

We used our collected data to develop a scorecard to evaluate the platforms we tested ourselves. Read more about how we researched and tested virtual therapy covered by insurance in our online therapy review methodology.

The Bottom Line

A variety of online therapy providers take health insurance. Which provider you should choose depends on your needs. If you’re primarily looking for medication management, MDLive or Talkspace may serve you best. If you want a combination of medication and online therapy, especially if you have Aetna, Cigna, or Optum/UnitedHealthcare, Brightside is a good option for using insurance. If you’re looking for therapy for a child under age 18, LiveHealth Online may be a good fit.

In Emergency Situations

If you are in crisis, waiting for an online therapy appointment may not be safe. In case of an emergency, call 911. This includes plans to harm yourself or others. If you’re having suicidal thoughts, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. Help is available 24/7.

You can also reach out to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 800-662-HELP (4357). The SAMHSA helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-days-a-year treatment referral and information service for individuals facing mental or substance abuse disorders.

Frequently Asked Questions

What online therapy takes insurance?

Brightside, Talkspace, MDLive, and LiveHealth Online take health insurance. Beyond our top picks, you may also consider Doctor on Demand, Teladoc, or Amwell, to name a few. Before you begin therapy, it’s always a good idea to contact your insurance provider to ensure that the care you’re seeking is covered.

How do I find an online therapist that takes my insurance?

You can find an online therapist that accepts insurance using certain online therapy platforms, like Talkspace and Brightside, that accept insurance, or by searching for providers who accept insurance on platforms like MDLive. You can also contact your insurance carrier via the customer service number on the back of your insurance card to ask about your coverage for in-network online therapists.

Does insurance cover online therapy?

Certain insurance plans cover online therapy, but it depends on your insurance carrier, your insurance plan, and the online therapy platform you choose. Contact your insurance provider through the customer service number on your insurance card to find out what coverage options you have for online therapy.

Does Medicaid cover online counseling?

Medicaid coverage for online counseling, and telemedicine in general, is determined by each state. You will need to contact your state Medicaid office for detailed information on online therapy coverage.

Does Medicare cover online therapy?

Yes, Original Medicare does cover certain types of telemedicine, including online therapy. Medicare.gov explains that under Medicare Part B, you will first pay your Part B deductible and then will pay 20 percent of the approved amount for your doctor visit or telehealth service.

Does Talkspace accept Blue Cross Blue Shield?

Talkspace may accept certain Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance plans. Contact your insurance provider to confirm coverage options, or check your eligibility on the Talkspace site.

What is the best online couples therapy that takes insurance?

Talkspace offers online couples therapy services and accepts certain insurance plans.

Editorial Sources and Fact-Checking

  • Zürcher S, Kerksieck P, Adamus C, et al. Prevalence of Mental Health Problems During Virus Epidemics in the General Public, Health Care Workers, and Survivors: A Rapid Review of the Evidence. Frontiers in Public Health. November 2020.
  • Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020. Congress.gov. March 6, 2020.
  • Jobes D, Crumlish J, Evans A. The COVID-19 Pandemic and Treating Suicidal Risk: The Telepsychotherapy Use of CAMS. Journal of Psychotherapy Integration. June 2020.
  • Telehealth. Medicare.gov.
  • Telemedicine. Medicaid.gov.
  • Interview with Aaron Weiner. March 2022.
  • Interview with Sara Epstein. March 2022.
  • Child and Adolescent. The Family Institute at Northwestern University.
  • Worsening Mental Health Crisis Pressures Psychologist Workforce. American Psychological Association. October 19, 2021.
  • What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy? American Psychological Association. July 2017.
  • Online Therapy Focus Group: Current Online Therapy Users. Nine Participants. Conducted Using Google Meet. January 25, 2023.
  • Talkspace Survey. 200 respondents. Conducted Using Pollfish. Launched January 17, 2023.
  • Brightside Survey. 200 respondents. Conducted Using Pollfish. Launched January 9, 2023.
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