According to Mental Health America, 11.1% of adults (over 5.5 million Americans) remained uninsured with a mental illness in 2022. However, the figure has improved considerably from 17% (over 7.5 million Americans) in 2017.
With increasing mental health issues, many people have turned to online therapy platforms such as BetterHelp as a viable alternative. Currently, BetterHelp doesn’t accept any insurance including the Blue Cross Blue Shield Insurance. However, being an online therapy platform, it offers therapy at considerably lower rates than in-person therapists.
This article answers whether BetterHelp accepts Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance in detail.
- What is BetterHelp?
- What is Blue Cross Blue Shield?
- Does BetterHelp take Blue Cross Blue Shield?
- Why Doesn’t BetterHelp Accept Blue Cross Blue Shield?
- Why Should I Choose BetterHelp Without Blue Cross Blue Shield?
What is BetterHelp?
BetterHelp is an online therapy platform hosting more than 30,000 licensed mental health professionals ready to address patient’s mental health needs. It offers a convenient and cost-friendly alternative by connecting patients to expert therapists using technology. The platform offers several exciting features including video sessions, live chatting, and audio calling.
What is Blue Cross Blue Shield?
Blue Cross Blue Shield is one of the largest health coverage providers in the United States covering more than 115 million clients. It offers customized health coverage to millions of Americans, connecting them with experienced mental health professionals close to their homes. Blue Cross Blue Shield offers healthcare plans for individuals and families with added services including global healthcare and discounts on wellness products.
Does BetterHelp take Blue Cross Blue Shield?
BetterHelp doesn’t take Blue Cross Blue Shield or any other insurance coverage. The platform is designed to offer therapy at a significantly lower cost than in-person therapists, connecting patients with licensed professionals.
Moreover, due to its online nature, BetterHelp functions with several restrictions (such as no medication management) than conventional therapists making it difficult for insurance companies to validate insurance claims.
Is BetterHelp Covered by Blue Cross Blue Shield?
While Blue Cross Blue Shield typically accepts online therapy claims, it does not cover BetterHelp. This is because BetterHelp is a unique online platform with a pricing system that is not accepted by insurance companies. Moreover, for many insurance plans, the copay (the amount you need to pay after the deductible), tends to be higher than BetterHelp’s’ entire fee due to its cost-effectiveness.
Can my Insurance Provider Reimburse Me for BetterHelp Therapy?
In some instances, patients may be able to reimburse a small part of the costs through their insurance provider if mental health is covered in their plan. However, this depends on the type of insurance plan and what illnesses it covers. To understand what costs can be reimbursed, it is recommended that patients contact their insurance provider directly using their insurance card.
Why Doesn’t BetterHelp Accept Blue Cross Blue Shield?
BetterHelp doesn’t accept Blue Cross Blue Shield for several reasons, including legal challenges, regulatory requirements, and business methodology.
1. Doesn’t Provide Diagnosis Services
BetterHelp doesn’t offer diagnosis services which means that even though medical professionals can diagnose mental illnesses, they are not allowed by the service. This is primarily due to BetterHelp’s terms and conditions which are enforced strictly. As most insurance companies including Blue Cross Blue Shield ask for a mental health diagnosis for reimbursement, BetterHelp is unable to accept it.
2. Different Business Methodology
BetterHelp offers one hundred percent online therapy sessions billing the clients per month, typically with 4 sessions. Many in-person therapy sessions are charged per session based on the category of session.
Hence, BetterHelp has a different pricing mechanism than the traditional therapists. Most insurance companies including Blue Cross Blue Shield reimburse based on the type of therapy sessions, therefore it is not possible to reimburse for BetterHelp.
3. Legal and Regulatory Issues
As BetterHelp operates as a stand-alone online therapy platform several legal and regulatory problems make it difficult to accept insurance. One main reason is that mental health is regulated on the state level in the United States with various state-level regulations that make uniform insurance coverage impossible.
Therefore, it is not viable for BetterHelp to process insurance claims with an insurance company like Blue Cross Blue Shield.
4. Diverse Clients
Unlike conventional walk-in therapies, online therapy caters to patients belonging to diverse areas and states. This makes it difficult for therapists and the platform to reconcile differences between healthcare laws of different locations.
Authorization to submit claims can also prove to be challenging due to geographic variability. Hence, BetterHelp offers a low-cost solution and doesn’t accept insurance coverage.
5. Independent Contractors
BetterHelp employs mental health professionals as independent contractors on its platform. This means that many experts may need more administrative support
to file, maintain, and manage insurance records and paperwork. Many mental health professionals are also attracted to online therapy platforms as it is quick and convenient without extensive documentation.
Why Should I Choose BetterHelp Without Blue Cross Blue Shield?
While BetterHelp doesn’t accept Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance, it does provide other cost-effective benefits including a nominal fee per session, reduction in indirect costs, and financial aid for low-income individuals and groups. For parents, online therapy can save childcare costs as they accompany their child while benefitting from online therapy.
1. Affordable Pricing Plan
Insurance coverage is primarily required for healthcare costs that are too expensive to be paid out-of-pocket by a person earning an average wage. However, BetterHelp already offers an immensely affordable alternative charging between $65 – $90 per week amounting to $240 and $360 per month. This makes it cost-effective for most individuals who can pay this amount out-of-pocket.
2. Saves Indirect Costs
With gas prices rising due to inflation, many individuals find it difficult to travel back and forth to the therapist’s office regularly. Moreover, many people residing in remote areas find it difficult to access mental health professionals and must travel far and wide adding to gas costs and mental stress.
3. Financial Aid
BetterHelp offers financial aid for low-income individuals who cannot afford therapy otherwise. It automatically deems financial aid necessary by evaluating income-related information when signing up.
Financial aid depends on your financial situation and can offset your monthly payments. Some additional promotions and discounts can reduce the first bill by a specific percentage.