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BetterHelp Online Therapy 2023 Review

Jan 12, 2023

By Savannah Bacon
Medically Reviewed by Lauren Masopust, MS, LMFT
Reviewed by Kathleen Cameron, BSPharm, MPH, Senior Director, NCOA Center for Healthy Aging
Fact Checked

BetterHelp Editor’s Pick
  • $240–$360 per month without financial aid
  • Offers financial aid for up to 40% off your subscription
  • Includes group therapy sessions, mental health webinars, and unlimited messaging

Key Takeaways

  • Prices vary by location, therapist preferences, and therapist availability, but you can expect to pay between $240–$360 per month without financial aid.
  • The BetterHelp financial aid program offers up to 40% off your monthly subscription.
  • Every BetterHelp membership includes four 30-minute video, audio, or online text chat therapy sessions per month and unlimited messaging.

With online therapy, you can get professional mental health care from the comfort of your home at convenient times to fit your schedule. BetterHelp, one of the biggest and most popular platforms in this space, provides individual therapy from licensed therapists and psychologists for issues such as depression and anxiety. These are two of the most common mental health issues among people 60 and older.1

While BetterHelp is meant for individual therapy for adults 18 and older, the therapists also support specialty sites for more specific needs, such as ReGain for couples counseling and Pride Counseling for people in the LGBTQ+ community.

Our Reviews Team mystery shopped BetterHelp, talked with company representatives, interacted with its customer service team, and explored other customer experiences, so you can see whether it’s right for you. BetterHelp earned our “Editor’s Pick” in the Reviews Team’s story about the best online therapy overall.

Why you can trust Our Reviews Team’s online therapy reviews

Our Reviews Team recommends products and services we believe provide value in the lives of our readers. We spent more than 1,000 hours carrying out in-depth research on mental health and online therapy to give you the most accurate review. To make our selections, we:

  • Consulted with mental health experts to understand online and in-person therapy best practices
  • Reviewed and mystery shopped more than 40 online therapy platforms
  • Read real reviews from verified customers on trusted third parties websites, such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Trustpilot to understand users’ experiences
  • Kept up to date on the latest academic research on therapy and mental health
  • Surveyed 1,000 online therapy users about their experiences with different online therapy platforms

Read more about our online therapy review methodology.

Pros and cons of BetterHelp

Pros

  • Offers financial aid
  • Can use HSA and FSA dollars
  • Can wait for a therapist match before paying
  • Can easily switch therapists
  • Exclusive discount for National Council on Aging (NCOA) readers
  • Highly rated app on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store

Cons

  • Doesn’t accept insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid
  • Prices vary depending on location, therapist availability, and therapist preferences
  • Can’t prescribe medication

BetterHelp review

BetterHelp is an online therapy platform that offers video, audio, and chat therapy. It has the largest network of therapists of any online therapy platform, with more than 29,000 providers supporting all U.S. states. Along with weekly therapy sessions, a BetterHelp subscription also has unlimited video, audio, and chat messaging, weekly group therapy sessions, and daily live webinars on mental health topics. And unlike most online therapy platforms, BetterHelp offers financial aid for up to 40% off membership fees.

How does BetterHelp work?

To try BetterHelp therapy, visit the website on your computer or download the app from the Google Play Store or Apple App Store.

You’ll need to fill out an initial questionnaire to get matched to a therapist. You can expect questions about your relationship status, sexuality, and spirituality, as well as why you are pursuing therapy, such as trauma, anxiety, depression, and grief.

Once you finish the questionnaire and register for an account, you’ll be matched with a therapist within a few hours or days. During signup, you can indicate the type of therapist you want to be matched with by factors like age range, gender, race or ethnicity, and religious affiliation. Your membership will start once you’re paired with a therapist and have paid for your subscription.

Therapy sessions

Every BetterHelp membership includes four 30-minute video, audio, or live chat therapy sessions per month. The live chat option is conducted through the BetterHelp platform and works similarly to text messaging, where you and your therapist will both log in to a private chat room at the same time and will type questions and answers instantly. To schedule sessions, you will use the BetterHelp app to find appointment times that work for both you and your therapist. You can also reach out to your therapist for additional availability if you don’t see convenient times listed.

You will log on to the BetterHelp platform using a computer connected to the internet during your appointment times to speak with your therapist in the format you chose. You can also log on using the BetterHelp mobile app on a tablet or smartphone.

Unlimited messaging

If you have questions or need to contact your therapist for any reason between sessions, you can reach them through unlimited video, audio, or text messages through the BetterHelp platform. This type of messaging works similarly to email. How frequently you receive responses depends on your therapist. If needed, you can also flag your messages as urgent, so your therapist knows to answer quickly.

When you start therapy, talk with your therapist to see how quickly they typically respond to messages. According to our Reviews Team’s April 2022 survey of online therapy users, 50% of BetterHelp users said that therapists responded to these messages within 24 hours and 17% said that therapists responded within a few days. Some BetterHelp users reported that it took longer to hear back from their therapist, with 25% reporting that it took a week to receive a reply, while 8% said that it took more than a week.2

Switching therapists

Finding the right therapist is the key to successful mental health services. BetterHelp makes it easy to switch therapists. From your BetterHelp app, you will fill out a two-question form about your new therapist preferences and what experience you want them to have, similar to the initial sign up process. Once you submit your request, BetterHelp will begin looking for your new therapist.

BetterHelp group therapy sessions

In addition to your individual sessions, you can also attend group therapy once per week. The therapist hosting the sessions determines the topics or themes, including subjects like depression, anxiety, grief, building communication skills, and practicing resilience.

You can view the group therapy schedule from your BetterHelp portal, and each group is limited to 18 people. You can choose to remain anonymous during group sessions, but BetterHelp encourages participants to use their cameras during sessions.

BetterHelp webinars

BetterHelp therapists host mental health webinars, also called “Groupinars,” every day on topics such as:

  • Setting boundaries
  • Identifying unhealthy behaviors
  • Living with a balanced perspective
  • Strategies to cope with racial injustice
  • Healing your heart from pet loss

You access them through the Groupinars section of your BetterHelp portal. Every session is capped at 500 attendees.

Eight to 12 sessions are hosted during weekdays, and four are offered every Saturday and Sunday. Depending on the moderator’s preferences, you can either ask questions during the presentation or afterward through chat. If you can’t attend the groupinar for any reason, BetterHelp will email you a link to the recorded session.

How much does BetterHelp cost?

BetterHelp costs between $240–$360 per month without financial aid, depending on your location, therapist preferences, and therapist availability. The cost per month varies by location because you are matched with a therapist licensed in your state. With the coupon code “NCOA,” you can receive 20% off your first month of BetterHelp.

BetterHelp will bill you every four weeks, and you can cancel at any time.

BetterHelp financial aid

BetterHelp is one of the only online therapy platforms that offers ongoing financial aid. Before you pay for your subscription, it will ask if you need financial assistance. The BetterHelp financial aid calculator uses factors such as your household income and number of children or dependents to determine your financial aid for up to 40% off your subscription. This means you’d pay $144–$216 per month with the maximum aid.

You need to reapply for financial aid every three months, but BetterHelp will email you a reminder.

BetterHelp payment options

BetterHelp accepts Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express credit cards. It also accepts FSA/HSA cards and Google pay.

Does BetterHelp take insurance?

BetterHelp does not accept insurance and will not bill your insurance directly, but you can download an itemized invoice of your services from your BetterHelp portal by clicking Account Settings > Payment Settings > Billing History. You can then submit claims to your insurance for potential reimbursement. Any insurance coverage depends on your insurance plan.

Does BetterHelp take Medicare?

BetterHelp does not take Medicare.

Does BetterHelp take Medicaid?

BetterHelp does not take Medicaid.

BetterHelp customer service

BetterHelp customer service is available through:

The BetterHelp phone number is only for current customers, so you will need to use email or the contact form for any questions before subscribing. When our Reviews Team called BetterHelp, we were connected to a kind and helpful customer service representative within seconds.

If you submit a contact form request between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. PT Monday through Friday, BetterHelp should respond to your request within one business day. If you submit a query outside of that window, you can expect a response within two business days. When our Reviews Team submitted a message on the contact form, we received an informative response the following day.

Table 1: BetterHelp vs. Other Brands Comparison, as of December 2022

BetterHelpTalkspaceBrightsideCerebral
Cost per Month$240–$360Varies by location, but prices start at $316–$556$299–$349$259–$349
Types of TherapyLive video, phone, messaging therapyLive video, phone, messaging therapyLive video therapyLive video, phone, messaging therapy
Accepts Insurance NoYesYesYes
Offers Financial AidYesNoNoNo
Prescribes MedicationNoYesYesYes

Customer reviews of BetterHelp

On the Better Business Bureau (BBB), BetterHelp has 4.05 out of 5 stars based on more than 475 reviews.3 BetterHelp is rated “Excellent” on Trustpilot, with 4.6 out of 5 stars based on more than 5,000 customer reviews.4

BetterHelp also has a highly rated app. On the Google Play store, BetterHelp is rated 4.7 out of 5 stars based on more than 34,000 reviews.5 On the Apple App Store, BetterHelp is rated 4.8 out of 5 stars based on more than 90,000 reviews.6

Positive BetterHelp reviews cite great experiences with therapists, the benefits of flexible appointments, and gratitude for the financial aid program. Negative BetterHelp reviews mention issues with billing, poor experiences with certain therapists, and some therapists canceling appointments last minute.

What people have to say about BetterHelp

“Best therapy experience I have ever had! Wonderful, wonderful therapist. Scheduling is flexible and easy. Very private and comfortable. They have been wonderful in working with me regarding payment. My overall mental health and well-being has improved so much since working with BetterHelp. I would give them 10 stars if I could.”

— WENDY C., VERIFIED CUSTOMER (BBB.ORG)

“I have seen a lot of therapists in my time and my current therapist I found via BetterHelp is by far the BEST therapist I’ve ever had. I cannot praise him enough and I am eternally grateful for having found him. I’ve recommended BetterHelp to several people and all have raved about the therapist they too have found. You just have to take your time when looking for the right match for you. I ‘interviewed’ several therapists until I found the right one for me.”

— KRISTIN, VERIFIED CUSTOMER (TRUSTPILOT.COM)

“BetterHelp has been a wonderful source of help. I’ve been diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety, and finding help has been difficult. The first therapist I was seeing though BetterHelp utilized a technique that was not at all helpful and left me feeling very frustrated. The service allows you to easily switch therapists and provides a lot of the therapists that are available. The second therapist has been extremely helpful, and I am very happy with the support the app has provided. It has helped me make better decisions and cope with my depression more easily.”

— CHELSEY C., VERIFIED CUSTOMER (BBB.ORG)

“I was hesitant about starting therapy because I wasn’t comfortable with sharing my emotions and feelings with a total stranger. But, I decided to give it a shot anyway. My therapist was a great listener and he told me it’s okay to emote. He made me laugh and even gave me anecdotes about himself to make me feel more comfortable about sharing my thoughts and feelings. BetterHelp is definitely a great app for therapy and I would recommend it to anyone!”

— JABARRIE E., VERIFIED CUSTOMER (BBB.ORG)

“Betterhelp is serving me well. I was apprehensive about starting therapy and didn’t know where to start. It was easy to start here and it was not awkward at all to change therapists until I found the right fit. My primary care doctor recommended cognitive behavioral therapy and it was easy to find many qualified therapists to meet my needs.”

— JESSICA B., VERIFIED CUSTOMER (BBB.ORG)

Bottom line

BetterHelp can be an accessible, convenient, and affordable option for those looking for online therapy. With plenty of added benefits, like mental health webinars, weekly group therapy sessions, and financial aid for up to 40% off your subscription, it earned our Review Team’s “Editor’s Pick” in our story about the best online therapy.

While BetterHelp can be a good option for individual therapy in adults 18 and older, the BetterHelp specialty sites ReGain or Pride Counseling would be best for those who want couples therapy or LGBTQ+ specialized care, respectively.

Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions about this review? Email us at reviewsteam@ncoa.org.

Sources

  1. World Health Organization. Mental health of older adults. Found on the internet at https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/mental-health-of-older-adults
  2. NCOA Adviser Online Therapy Survey. 1,000 respondents. Conducted using Pollfish. Launched April 11, 2022
  3. Better Business Bureau. BetterHelp. Found on the internet at https://www.bbb.org/us/ca/mountain-view/profile/psychologist-referral-service/betterhelp-1216-262454
  4. Trustpilot. BetterHelp. Found on the internet at https://www.trustpilot.com/review/www.betterhelp.com
  5. Google Play Store. BetterHelp – Therapy. Found on the internet at https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.betterhelp&hl=en_US&gl=US&pli=1
  6. Apple App Store. BetterHelp – Therapy. Found on the internet at https://apps.apple.com/us/app/betterhelp-therapy/id995252384

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