Understanding BetterHelp: Pricing And Improvements To Online Therapy

Updated November 29, 2023by MyTherapist Editorial Team

While in-person therapy can be cost-prohibitive and inaccessible to many, research finds that online therapy can effectively address many mental health challenges and it’s typically more affordable. BetterHelp is a therapy platform that offers online mental health services, including live video sessions, live chats, audio calls, and in-app messaging with a licensed therapist. While online therapy through BetterHelp is not covered by insurance, they do offer a subscription service that costs an average of $65-90 per week, which is generally comparable to an insurance co-payment.

Think Your Mental Health Could Be Better?

The Effectiveness Of Online Therapy: Does It Work? 

Research supports that online therapy can effectively reduce symptoms of many mental health conditions and improve quality of life. For example, a 2017 review of 373 peer-reviewed articles found that online cognitive behavioral therapy effectively managed depression, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety, panic disorders, specific phobias, substance use disorders, adjustment disorder, bipolar disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. The review also found that online therapy is typically more cost-effective and accessible than in-person therapy. Additionally, a meta-analysis published in 2023 of 44 randomized controlled trials including 5,077 patients with chronic diseases found that online cognitive behavioral therapy improved both psychiatric and physical symptoms. 

However, there are some cases where in-person care is recommended: 

  • Individuals needing immediate crisis care
  • Those with serious psychiatric illnesses

Additionally, Dr. Camilo Ortiz, a licensed clinical psychologist and professor, explained in a New York Times article that in-person therapy is typically a better option for individuals with symptoms of paranoia, young children, and those without access to a space for synchronous sessions.  

In summary: Online therapy can be effective for many people, but there are some circumstances where in-person therapy may be more appropriate. 

Answers To Common Questions About BetterHelp Pricing

BetterHelp is an online platform that offers a monthly subscription plan for mental health services, including live videos, audio calls, and messaging. Here are some answers to common questions about their pricing:  

  • How Much Does BetterHelp Cost?

The cost of an online therapy subscription through BetterHelp varies based on your geographic location, therapist availability, and preferences. The average cost of a BetterHelp subscription is $65-90 per week, which is about the same price as an insurance co-pay. Subscriptions are billed every four weeks, and they can be canceled at any time.  

  • Does BetterHelp Offer Financial Aid?

Yes, financial aid and reduced subscription costs are available for people who qualify. 

  • Does BetterHelp Accept Insurance? 

BetterHelp is not covered by health insurance, but some insurance companies may be able to provide reimbursements for sessions

If you are looking for a provider covered by your health insurance plan, you may want to consider calling your insurance provider directly or looking on their website for a list of in-network mental health professionals located near you. 

  • How Does BetterHelp Pricing Compare To In-Person Therapy?

Forbes Health estimates that the average in-person therapy session costs between $100-200 without insurance. Individuals with insurance who are seeing an in-network therapist can expect to pay a $10-50 copayment per session. However, in the United States, many therapists do not accept insurance due to administrative difficulties

Those without insurance or without access to an in-network therapist typically find that BetterHelp is more affordable than in-person therapy.  

  • What Is Included In A BetterHelp Subscription? 

A BetterHelp subscription includes live video sessions, live chat, and/or audio calls. The frequency and duration of these sessions varies based on preference and need, but typically subscribers attend one weekly synchronous session that is 30-45 minutes long. 

Additionally, subscribers gain access to asynchronous messaging with their therapist, reading materials provided by therapists, group webinars, and a virtual journal.  

  • Can I Cancel My Subscription?

According to BetterHelp terms and conditions, subscriptions can be cancelled at any time. You may want to cancel your subscription before the next billing cycle to avoid paying for an additional month.  

Improvements In Online Therapy

Online mental health services have been available since 1982, but they’ve continually improved since then. The following are some improvements and benefits of online therapy: 

  • Increased Access To Therapists

If you live in a rural area, online therapy platforms can provide you with more access to a therapist who’s suited to your preferences. For example, there are more than 30,000 licensed therapists offering mental health services on BetterHelp. You can choose to match with someone who comes from a similar cultural, religious, ethnic, gender, age, or LGBTQ+ background, and you can prioritize therapists whose clinical approach and experiences are best suited to you.  

  • Widely Available Internet Access

The U.S. federal government recently approved a law to improve infrastructure, including $65 billion to increase high-speed internet access and affordability nationwide. Improvements in internet bandwidth enable more people to access mental health services remotely. 

Individuals without high-speed internet can still use online mental health services, even if live videoconferencing is too demanding. For example, BetterHelp offers live messaging and audio calls through their mobile applications that typically do not require high-speed internet. 

  • New Ways To Connect With Your Therapist 

While in-person therapy is typically limited to an in-office visit, online therapy lets you connect with your therapist between sessions through asynchronous in-app messaging. Therapists typically respond to messages within 24 hours. 

  • Worksheets Sent Directly To You

Through BetterHelp messaging, your therapist can share relevant worksheets with you. You can read through worksheets and fill them out between sessions (if you want to). Afterwards, you can share your worksheet with your therapist.

  • Virtual Journaling 

BetterHelp includes an online journal that may help you track your progress, take notes, and share challenges with your therapist, if desired. According to the Harvard Business Review, writing about emotions can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, while improving sleep quality and self-awareness. 

  • Straightforward Billing

Here, you can compare the ease of paying for in-person therapy through insurance, paying for in-person therapy without insurance, or paying for online therapy through BetterHelp: 

  • Using insurance for in-person therapy: Health insurance plans often include premiums, deductibles, and co-payments that can be difficult to navigate. Additionally, you will need to determine whether a provider is in-network or out-of-network. You may be required to pay in full for sessions and then submit an invoice to your insurance company to be considered for full or partial reimbursement.
  • Paying out-of-pocket for in-person therapy: Individuals without insurance are typically expected to pay in full therapy sessions, which typically costs between $100-200 per session. Some therapists may offer a sliding scale or discounts when you pay for multiple sessions. 
  • Paying for online therapy through BetterHelp: BetterHelp is not covered by health insurance, but it costs about the same amount as an insurance co-payment. Once you sign up, BetterHelp billing is automatically initiated each month through PayPal or a credit card. 
  • Attend Sessions From Anywhere 

Unlike in-person therapy, online therapy does not require you to commute to a therapist’s office. You can attend sessions from the comfort of your own home, which may help you feel more relaxed.

Think Your Mental Health Could Be Better?


Research shows that online therapy can effectively address many mental health challenges, including anxiety and depression. You may want to try online therapy if you do not have insurance or access to an in-network therapist, you value finding a therapist whose background and experiences are a good fit for your needs, or you prefer attending therapy sessions from home.  

BetterHelp is an online therapy platform with a network of more than 30,000 licensed therapists. Subscriptions cost $65-90 per week, on average, and financial aid is available for those who qualify. In addition to accessing live video sessions, messaging, and audio calls, subscribers can utilize asynchronous messaging, a virtual journal, and worksheets.

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