It is well-known that online therapy is generally cheaper than going in-person to a mental health clinic. (1) Whether you are there for a medicine adjustment or for cognitive therapy, it is much cheaper to meet online than to visit in person. In this article, we will try to use rough estimates to determine how much you can save by choosing online therapy over conventional in-person visits.
First of all, the average cost of in-person therapy is between $20 to $250 per session (sessions are usually once a week and last about 45 minutes). That is a lot of money, and normally, that is the going rate for once a week therapy. One of the better-known sites for online therapy, Talkspace, costs 25 dollars a week, and while that is cheap, includes service from a trained professional with all the qualifications that an in-person provider has.
The really hard part to navigate past is that not all insurance companies cover therapy, and there is no rule that they must pay for all of your therapy costs. Copays can be as high as 40 dollars per session. If you go once a week for a month, that is about $160 dollars per month just on therapy. A one week use of Betterhelp may cost $35 to $65 per week, which might cost more or less, but the counselor is at your service the whole week, so you get a lot more for your money. (2)
Some sites, like Talkspace, cost even less. Talkspace is about $25 per week. If you went four weeks in a row, you’d pay $100 per month, which is a huge savings over a month of once a week therapy in-person ($160).
And that $160 per month is just on cognitive therapy, once a week, for a face to face interaction. What if you need medications in your regimen to function optimally? Then you’d have to visit a psychiatrist or nurse practitioner who can prescribe meds, and their services are on the higher end of cost, not the lower end. Med providers often don’t do therapy or counseling, since Psychiatry and Psychology are two different modalities.
The only insurance that fully covers therapy, psychiatry, and lab tests, is Medicare Part B. And not many people who are working have this type of insurance. The majority of people who work and live, and still need therapy and meds, have some other insurance. And as stated above, they have no obligation to pay all of your therapy costs.
So in essence, you can save anywhere from 20% to 50% of the cost of therapy by choosing online therapy over in-person therapy. Also, some services offer video-counseling, which is very useful to both med prescriber (MD or LNP) or therapists. Others, like Betterhelp and Talkspace, offer competitively priced yet thorough and legitimate therapy which fits into many people’s budgets and schedules.
For most people, in most circumstances, online therapy is better. It is cheaper, provides the same service as in-person therapy, and is more convenient. An overall better deal for your money.