Given today’s technology, online medical treatment of every kind—including counseling—is becoming more commonplace. For online therapy, Fearapy partners with BetterHelp, the world’s largest e-counseling platform. The process works much like regular in-person counseling, except you are meeting with the therapist online:
The signup process is fairly streamlined, since you are clicking radio buttons, not entering text for the questionnaires.
The cost of counseling through BetterHelp ranges from $35 to $70 USD per week for unlimited access to your counselor. This flat membership fee covers both the use of the platform and unlimited counseling. Your payment will be the same regardless of the number of messages and sessions you have with your counselor, so you can communicate with your counselor as often as you like without it affecting cost. Face-to-face counseling can cost $150 to $250 for a single session without insurance, so BetterHelp could be a viable option for patients without insurance.
In some instances, your insurance could reimburse the cost. However, many insurances only cover face-to-face video conferencing using HIPAA compliant video services. They often do not cover emails, chats, or phone calls between you and your therapist.
Also note: If you have an insurance plan with a high deductible, you can expect to pay nearly half using Better Help than you would billing sessions to your insurance. Even insurance plans with a simple copay per session are comparable to Better Health costs.
In many cases, before you can get reimbursed by your insurance company, your therapist would have to diagnose you with a mental disorder or issue. This diagnosis would be sent to the insurance company and recorded in your medical file. In some cases, the therapist would also have to provide additional clinical information to the insurance company, such as treatment plans, summaries or copies of the entire record.
BetterHelp does offer financial aid based on a client’s income. The amount of aid will vary, but clients have reported anywhere between 20% and 50% discounts off the normal cost.
BetterHelp offers a wide range of counselors with varying specialties and areas of expertise. These include:
BetterHelp employs counselors with the following licenses:
All counselors have earned a Masters or a Doctorate Degree in their fields and are licensed through their respective state professional boards. Additionally, BetterHelp requires their counselors to have a minimum of three years and 2,000 hours of clinical experience.
BetterHelp has received its fair share of criticism. Much of the criticism centers around the online therapy industry rather than BetterHelp specifically. Here are five of the most common BetterHelp complaints:
In our opinion, BetterHelp is not a scam. None of the above claims appear to justify the conclusion that BetterHelp is willingly trying to cheat consumers. That doesn’t, however mean the service is perfect or appropriate for all circumstances. The service does state in its terms and conditions that BetterHelp may not be a suitable replacement for in-person counseling.
BetterHelp is also clear that it hires third-party providers, although due to its thorough vetting process, only 15% of applicants are accepted. Regarding affordability, it is true that in some cases BetterHelp may not be affordable enough for clients. At the $70/week rate, clients could pay more than they would if they used their insurance, depending on their plan. And if a client doesn’t have insurance, they still may not be able to afford BetterHelp, even with financial aid.
Regarding billing errors and counselors not being available for appointments, BetterHelp admits it has not been perfect, but claims it is committed to correcting any issues. Founder Alon Matas addressed these and other criticisms—including those arising from the “YouTube controversy” involving BetterHelp—in this article.
Despite the negative claims, hundreds of thousands of people have used BetterHelp over the last five years, including many of our Fearapy readers. Moreover, BetterHelp’s ratings across the web are good overall, further validating that BetterHelp is not a scam. This also indicates a large number of people have accepted online counseling as an affordable and viable treatment option, and have had a positive experience with the service.
BetterHelp currently has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau as of 1/29/19. There are 92 complaints, all of which have been resolved or answered. There are 110 reviews, with an aggregate rating of 4.3/5.
On Trustpilot, BetterHelp has an aggregate rating of 4/5 stars across 290 reviews.
The Android BetterHelp app in the Google Play Store has a 4/5 star rating across 4,353 reviews and 100,000+ installations
In the iPhone App Store, BetterHelp has a 4.4/5 star aggregate rating across 3,027 ratings
Number of Counselors:
Hopefully this review of BetterHelp has answered your questions, but if you need additional information, feel free to use our contact form to get in touch. We obviously can’t provide the details of therapy sessions for privacy reasons, but we’ve tried to make this resource as useful as possible.
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