How Much Does Therapy Cost Without Insurance?

Medically reviewed by Laura Angers Maddox, NCC, LPC
Updated December 2, 2022by MyTherapist Editorial Team

Like other forms of healthcare, there’s a cost associated with getting therapy. Some insurance plans may cover all or part of this cost, while others may not cover anything until the individual reaches their deductible. And for the 31.6 million Americans who, according to the CDC, don’t have health insurance, the full price of obtaining this service falls completely on their shoulders. Let’s take a look at how much therapy generally costs, both with and without insurance.

Affordable Therapy Is Available

How Much Therapy Costs With Different Insurance Plans

First, let’s address how much therapy may cost for those with different types of insurance plans. A 2008 federal mandate requires all major health insurance providers to offer equal coverage options for mental health services and medical health services. In most US states, Medicaid is also required to adhere to this. Anyone who has health insurance in the US, then, is entitled to receive mental health-related services under their plan, including assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of mental illnesses or related conditions. So, how does insurance cover therapy? Read on to find out more.

Different insurance companies and plans may sort therapists into groups based on which ones they cover: out-of-network versus in-network. Any services you decide to obtain from out-of-network providers will typically not be covered, meaning you’ll be responsible for the entire cost. To learn what your expected copay, annual out-of-pocket maximums, and covered services are for different providers, contact your insurance company directly. 

Services you obtain from in-network providers may be covered at a variety of different levels, depending on your plan. Some may be completely covered, others may be covered at a certain percentage, and still others may not be covered until you reach your deductible. For instance, if your deductible is $1,500, you’d have to spend $1,500 out-of-pocket in a year before the plan starts covering your costs for a particular type of healthcare. So if you were paying $150 per therapy session, you’d have to pay for 10 sessions yourself before your health insurance company starts covering some or all of the cost, depending on your plan.

How Do I Get Health Insurance To Cover The Cost Of Therapy?

The 2008 mandate referenced above also requires employers with over 50 employees to provide medical and mental health insurance to them at a reasonable cost.

If you work for a company that meets this requirement, reach out to your health insurance benefits manager or to your human resources department to learn what your options are for therapy coverage and costs.

Otherwise, applying for certain income-based plans may allow you to get health insurance that covers at least some of the cost of therapy. Online health marketplaces can help you determine if you qualify for low- or reduced-cost mental health care. For people seeking sliding scale therapy or free medical or mental health services, the online health marketplace for your state is where you apply for Medicaid and other state-based programs that provide free and income-based health insurance coverage.

How Much Therapy Costs Without Insurance

Before mental health awareness became a more prominent topic in the US, seeing a therapist was generally a high-priced luxury that many simply couldn’t afford.

As the importance of mental health and healthcare has increased in recent years, more cost-effective options have emerged for those who need financial assistance in this area. Online therapy is one newer option for more affordable mental health care.

The Option of Online Therapy

A Google search for free online counseling options will return several results, including volunteer-led, chat-based services and crisis lines that are completely free to use. For those on a specific budget, there are a variety of low-cost online therapy options out there, too. Through a virtual therapy platform like BetterHelp[1], for instance, you can meet with a licensed therapist virtually for anywhere from $40–70 per week, depending on your preferences and availability. This is comparable to the copays of most insurance plans and significantly less than the average in-office therapy session, which is $100–200 in the US

In addition to typically being more affordable, research has shown that online therapy can also be highly effective for a variety of mental health concerns and illnesses. For example, a 2021 study found online therapy to be “no less efficacious when delivered via videoconferencing than in-person”. A 2018 study suggests that online therapy is an effective treatment for anxiety and depression disorders, which is a conclusion that’s also supported by several other studies in this growing field of research. 

Those who live in rural areas may not have adequate options nearby. Even those who simply have a busy schedule may be better able to fit therapy into their routine if they can do it online rather than having to visit a physical office space for each session. 

If you’re interested in trying out online therapy, using MyTherapist.comis an easy way to start. It’s a therapist-matching service that can help you find the best mental health professional to suit your specific needs based on your answers to a brief questionnaire. Every provider on the platform is licensed and experienced, and you can meet with them via phone call, video call, and/or online chat.

Affordable Therapy Is Available

Takeaway

There’s no one answer for how much therapy costs without insurance because there are a variety of options for different situations. Whether you have insurance or not, know that there are mental health resources available for you.

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