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The Cost-Effectiveness of Online Therapy with BetterHelp

Reviewed by Dawn Brown, LPC, NCC · July 19, 2022 ·

Life can be incredibly challenging at times, taking a toll on our mental health and overall wellbeing. Today, roughly 1 in 5 American adults live with mental illness, yet less than half of those individuals receive the treatment and mental health support they need. While there may be many factors that may prevent an individual from seeking therapy, such as geographic barriers, mobility issues, or facing stigma, the cost is often one of the main factors. Traditional therapy can often be expensive, and some insurance providers may not cover therapy, while some individuals may not have an insurance plan.

Online therapy has changed the way people experience therapy and has made it possible for more people to receive the mental health support they need and deserve, all from the comfort of their own home or wherever they have an internet connection.

Recent studies show that online therapy is just as effective as traditional forms of therapy for various conditions (including depression, anxiety, PTSD, grief, and many others), with individuals reporting improved mental health for various mental health concerns in a short period. With online platforms like BetterHelp, individuals can receive convenient, discreet, and affordable support to improve their mental health and overcome challenges in their life all from their mobile devices.

Cost Of BetterHelp

While traditional, in-person therapy can range from $100-$200 per session, BetterHelp is an affordable alternative based on your location. The cost of a therapy subscription through BetterHelp may range from $60 to $90 a week, which is billed every four weeks. Every month, your subscription may cost between $240 to $360 for that 4-week billing period. The cost of your BetterHelp online therapy subscription is based on your location, preferences, and therapist availability.

While some major insurance providers may cover traditional forms of therapy and online therapy or a portion of the cost of these therapies, other insurance plans may offer no coverage, and some individuals seeking therapy may not have an insurance plan at all. It may be helpful to reach out to your insurance provider to see what forms of therapy they cover or if they can cover any of the costs on the BetterHelp platform.

Some commonly asked questions about the platform include:

How much does BetterHelp charge per month?

BetterHelp costs start at $60-90 per week. However, when you use BetterHelp, you will be billed monthly (rather than weekly) for your therapy plan. Even better, financial assistance may be available for those who need it. BetterHelp offers video sessions, phone sessions, and in-app messaging so that you can connect with your therapist in a way that works for you. Video sessions are similar to in office therapy, as they allow you to see a mental health professionals face, expressions, and movements as you would in an in person therapy session. Therapy can help with a number of different concerns, including but not limited to stress, mental illness or mental health disorders, familial dynamics, interpersonal relationships, trauma, self-esteem or confidence, communication, and more. There are a range of possible benefits to getting therapy or counseling services online, and online counseling or online therapy platforms like BetterHelp can make it easier to get the care you need.

While it may take months on a waiting list to see mental health counselors, therapists, social workers, or psychologists for in person therapy or counseling in some cases, it is generally much faster to start working with one of the mental health professionals who offer services through BetterHelp. Similarly, online counseling or therapy doesn’t require you to commute to an office or center as you might if you were to see a therapist in person, which can save individuals both time and money. Most individuals are matched with one of our mental health counselors, therapists, psychologists, or social workers within 24-48 hours once they complete the sign up process.

Is BetterHelp actually cheaper?

BetterHelp is an affordable therapy option that’s often less expensive than in person therapy services are without mental health coverage through health insurance. While BetterHelp does not take health insurance, our rates are meant to be affordable out-of-pocket, and financial assistance may be available for those who need it. In the case that you want to learn more about what your insurance company covers, you may contact them directly. If you aren’t able to cover the cost of online therapy or counseling services, you may be able to receive financial aid. To learn more about financial aid opportunities that you can use to pay for therapy services through BetterHelp, please contact our customer service team.

How long is a BetterHelp session?

A virtual therapy session through BetterHelp will last 30 or 45 minutes. The length of your therapy session will be determined by you and the professional you work with and may vary based on your personal and mental health needs. 

Is it hard to cancel BetterHelp?

If you have found online therapy helpful and no longer need services or want to cancel your plan for any other reason, we make it easy to do so. It is important to us that you get the best care possible. When you sign up for BetterHelp therapy, you will take a short questionnaire that’ll help us pair you with a qualified therapist who meets your needs. If at any time it feels as though the provider you’re working with for online counseling or therapy isn’t the right fit, but you prefer to continue receiving therapy, we make it easy to switch providers if you need to.

Can BetterHelp diagnose you?

Since BetterHelp is an online therapy service, the mental health counselors, therapists, social workers, and psychologists who offer services through the platform provide therapy. BetterHelp does not offer medication management* or diagnostic services. However, our providers have many different specialties, and you can receive therapy for various concerns, including mental health conditions, stress, relationships, and more, through BetterHelp. Additionally, we know that everyone’s need for mental health treatment and mental health services differ, and it is entirely possible to get therapy through BetterHelp while receiving other forms of care. For example, you may get individual therapy through BetterHelp but attend group therapy, a support group, or see a psychiatrist either in person or through another remote platform.

BetterHelp is professional therapy and is not a replacement for intensive in person treatment or programs, such as residential or inpatient treatment programs, nor can it substitute emergency services. If you are in need of immediate help, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or another appropriate hotline.

*Please do not start, stop, or change your medication routine without consulting your prescribing doctor.

What's Included In A BetterHelp Subscription

While subscribed to online therapy through BetterHelp, you have unlimited in-app messaging with your therapist in a designated chat room where you can receive support and guidance whenever you need it. You'll receive a notification when your therapist replies to any messages you may send. With unlimited in-app messaging, you also receive one 30-to-45-minute live session per week, though sessions may also go up to an hour depending on your needs and your therapist's availability. You may connect with your therapist via live video, live chat, or phone calls during this live session.

Is There A Cheaper Alternative To BetterHelp?

BetterHelp offers very affordable mental health support from professional, licensed therapists. The BetterHelp platform has competitive subscription-based pricing comparable to or less than the cost of similar online platform alternatives.

Suppose you're looking for a cheaper alternative to improve your mental health. In that case, it's important to be aware that some mental health platforms may offer support from volunteers and not licensed, accredited therapists. While this may be helpful for some individuals, it may not suffice for every mental health concern. For free mental health advice and resources, you can visit the BetterHelp Advice page, which contains valuable advice on various mental health concerns and issues.


When it comes to therapy, many people may have concerns about their safety due to the sensitive nature of what they may be experiencing, and the negative stigmas regarding mental health that they may face. BetterHelp is a safe site for individuals to receive mental health support. 

In that case, you also can click the "shred" button next to any messages you've sent to your therapist, which will completely remove them from your BetterHelp account.

When signing up for a BetterHelp subscription, the platform will never ask you for your full name or contact information. 

How Live Sessions Work

Once you create an account with BetterHelp, you'll be asked to fill out a detailed questionnaire regarding your mental health needs, goals, expectations, and desired therapist preferences. Depending on your needs and the current therapist's availability, you'll be matched with a licensed therapist who best fits those needs and preferences within a few hours or a couple of days. Once you've been matched with a therapist, you can connect with them through in-app messaging, live chat, video chat, or phone calls. You can use these therapy services via your laptop, desktop, tablet, or smartphone whenever and wherever you have a stable internet connection.

How Many Sessions Do You Get?

With a BetterHelp online therapy subscription, you will receive one live session per week that allows you to connect with your therapist via video chat, live messaging, or a phone call. 

However, it's important to note the in-app messaging feature is not in real-time, and you will receive a notification once your therapist responds with support or guidance. The messages are saved in your chat room to refer back to whenever you need to.

How Long Are BetterHelp Sessions?

Each live session with your therapist is booked in 30-45 minute blocks but can also be scheduled for up to an hour, depending on your needs and your therapist's availability. However, longer live sessions may increase the rate of your monthly subscription. These sessions need to be booked in advance, and the length of your sessions should be discussed with your therapist.

You will receive a notification whenever they send a message.

Canceling Your BetterHelp Subscription

If you no longer feel you need support from the BetterHelp platform, you may cancel your subscription at any time, for any reason. Canceling your subscription is very easy. You log in to your account, click on account settings and payment settings, and choose "change plan" or "quit counseling." If you choose to quit counseling, you may continue to use the online therapy features through your final billing cycle.

Alternatively, if you feel your therapist isn't the right match for you, you can also request to be matched with a new therapist who better suits your needs at any time and for any reason. Each therapist at BetterHelp has their unique background, area of expertise, and approach; therefore, you may find a different therapist who offers the kind of support and guidance you need.


If you're experiencing mental health concerns or difficulties in your life, therapy can be a valuable resource to help you overcome them. While traditional therapy may seem out of reach for some, online therapy and affordable BetterHelp pricing have made it possible for more individuals to receive their mental health support. A licensed therapist from BetterHelp may be able to provide tools and guidance to help you overcome challenges and improve your mental health. Reach out today to begin your journey and learn more about affordable online therapy with BetterHelp.

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