The popularity of online therapy (and telehealth services at large) has risen dramatically in recent years. According to the American Psychiatric Association, 38% of Americans have used telehealth platforms to meet with either a medical or mental health professional.
As the popularity of online therapy has grown, so has insurance coverage for online therapy sessions. Nevertheless, health insurance for mental health care can still be a complicated and confusing world to navigate. To help you get the treatment you need while paying as little as possible out of pocket, here is everything you need to know about finding online therapy providers that take insurance.
How does insurance coverage work for online therapy?
Following the COVID-19 pandemic — which was one of the major factors driving the growth of online therapy services — insurance coverage for online therapy has expanded significantly. Nevertheless, coverage for online therapy can still vary depending on the specific plan and insurance provider that you choose.
Most health plans will only cover services that are deemed medically necessary, and this is true for online therapy as well. That means that someone seeking therapy for a diagnosed mental health condition such as ADHD, bipolar disorder, or an eating disorder is a lot more likely to be covered than someone simply exploring therapy or interested in using therapy as a tool to learn more about themselves.
The first thing you should do if you are thinking about meeting with an online therapist is contact your insurance company and see if your plan covers mental health services. Be sure to discuss any specific types of therapy you’re exploring, and inquire about any copay, coinsurance, or deductible that you’ll be responsible for.
When you take the time to research what your insurance plan does and doesn’t cover, you can access therapy with minimal expense.
Getting insurance-covered therapy through SonderMind
Companies that offer online therapy, such as SonderMind, have made meeting with a mental health care provider more convenient and accessible. At SonderMind, we also make it easy for our clients to find clinicians who accept insurance.
SonderMind offers online and in-person therapy services where you can match and meet with licensed therapists that treat a broad range of mental health issues. Our platform is compatible with multiple insurance plans.
How online therapy works with SonderMind
With SonderMind, you’ll be able to match with a therapist who is carefully chosen to suit your unique needs and preferences. Once you’ve matched with your ideal therapist, you can communicate with them via live video sessions, phone calls, or text messaging.
The sign-up process is quick and convenient: All you have to do to match with a therapist is answer a few questions about yourself to help us learn more about you and your needs. From there, you’ll be able to schedule an appointment to meet with your therapist via video chat from anywhere that you have an internet connection.
Best of all, SonderMind allows you to match and meet with therapists and psychiatrists with a range of specialties, and who offer a range of therapy options like individual therapy, couples therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and medication management.
Additional ways to find online therapy that takes your insurance
Connecting with an online therapist via SonderMind is one of the quickest and easiest ways to find therapy that takes your insurance. However, there are other effective options for you to explore as well, including:
Contact your insurance provider
There are a few reasons why it’s helpful to contact your insurance provider before you begin searching for a therapist. For one, your insurance provider should be able to provide you with a list of in-network therapists who offer video therapy services.
While matching with an online therapist who is specifically chosen to meet your needs is ultimately the best way to find the right therapist for you, having a list of online therapists who take your insurance can still be helpful.
Contacting your insurance provider ahead of time is also helpful for figuring out what your insurance plan will and won’t cover along with how much you are going to have to pay out of pocket for online therapy services. This is beneficial since it means you won’t be left with any surprises when the bill for your therapy comes in.
Meet with your doctor
Meeting with your primary care physician is another effective way to get connected with an online therapist. If your doctor feels that online therapy is a good option for you, they will be able to help you choose the right therapist and write a referral for you.
In some cases, insurance companies may require a doctor’s referral before they agree to cover online therapy. If you contact your insurance provider and learn that this is the case for your insurance plan, then getting a referral from your doctor is an essential step.
Check online directories and resources
Browsing directories of online therapists and other mental health resources can be a convenient way to find therapists who accept your insurance. On many of these online directories, you will be able to filter your search based on criteria such as the provider’s specialties, where they are located, and whether or not they take your insurance.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that having a list of potential therapists isn’t quite as helpful as matching with a single therapist who perfectly aligns with your preferences and needs, much like you’ll find with SonderMind.
Reach out to therapists or mental health organizations
You can always reach out directly to a therapist to learn more about what they charge and see if they accept your insurance. Some online therapists may offer a sliding scale or flexible payment options to help make their services more affordable if they are not in-network with your insurance provider.
It can also be helpful to reach out to mental health organizations such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Mental Health America (MHA), and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). These organizations may be able to provide additional helpful resources.
Seek recommendations and referrals
Recommendations from friends, family, and other associations can be valuable when it comes to finding the right therapist. These referrals are especially useful for learning more about a therapist’s approach and the quality of the services they provide.
However, if you have friends and family who have attended therapy and have the same insurance provider as you, getting recommendations from them can also help you find an online therapist that takes your insurance.
Along with asking friends and family for recommendations, you can also reach out to support groups and online communities with all kinds of helpful advice.
Use your employee assistance program (EAP) if applicable
If your employer offers an employee assistance program (EAP), this can be a great resource to leverage in order to make online therapy more affordable. Many of these programs provide short-term counseling services — including online therapy — as a benefit to employees and partially or completely cover their costs.
To see if your EAP will cover the cost of online therapy, you can reach out to the human resources department at your place of employment.
Understanding the billing process for online therapy
In some cases, online therapists will directly bill your insurance company, requiring you to provide them with your insurance information and taking care of the rest themselves.
However, it is more likely that you will need to pay your therapist out of pocket, then submit a claim to your insurance provider for reimbursement. In this case, it’s essential to keep track of all receipts and documentation, including session dates, fees, and provider details. Your insurance provider will likely require these documents as a condition for reimbursement.
Does Medicaid or Medicare cover online therapy?
Medicaid and Medicare can both cover online therapy in certain cases. But, as with private insurance, you’ll need to choose a therapist who is in-network with your Medicaid/Medicare health plan.
At SonderMind, our licensed therapists are in-network with a variety of Medicare and Medicare Advantage behavioral health benefits plans, making it easy to find a therapist who accepts your insurance.
Get insurance-covered online therapy with SonderMind
SonderMind makes online therapy more accessible and affordable to the people who need it. Just one of the ways we ensure you can access affordable therapy is by making it easy to match with a therapist who is in-network with your insurance provider. However, we also offer affordable self-pay options.
To connect with a licensed therapist who accepts your insurance and who is carefully chosen to meet your unique needs and preferences, get matched at SonderMind in as little as 48 hours.