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Sesame Online Therapy Review for 2023

Jan 11, 2023

By Hillary Eames
Medically Reviewed by Haley Stricker, LPC
Reviewed by Kathleen Cameron, BSPharm, MPH, Senior Director, NCOA Center for Healthy Aging
Fact Checked

Sesame Best for Pay-As-You Go
  • Video visits with medical and mental health providers
  • Pay providers directly and save up to 60%
  • $5 Psychiatric medication through SesameRx

Key Takeaways

  • Sesame, also called Sesame Care, is an online telehealth platform that lets you book virtual physical health and mental health visits.
  • Sesame doesn’t accept insurance but keeps costs affordable and lower than (or comparable to) competitors by working directly with providers.
  • Sesame offers a prescription service, SesameRx, which can provide psychiatric medications for as low as $5.

Online therapy offers a way to receive mental health care from the privacy, convenience, and comfort of your own home. According to the American Psychological Association, online therapy, also called teletherapy, involves interacting with a mental health provider through a website, telephone, or app.1 Research indicates that for treating anxiety, depression, and trauma, online therapy can be just as effective as in-person therapy.2

Sesame is one of many websites that offers therapy sessions with licensed mental health providers through video calls over the internet. In our review, we cover the pros and cons of Sesame, how the platform works, how much it costs, whether it accepts insurance, and more.

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 party websites, including 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 Sesame Care

Pros

  • Offers psychiatry, individual therapy, and couples therapy—sometimes the same day
  • $5 psychiatric medication available for some prescriptions through SesameRx
  • Offers multiple telehealth services in addition to mental health

Cons

  • Prices vary by provider and state of residence
  • Doesn’t accept insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid
  • Some negative reviews mention late or missed appointments

What is Sesame Care?

Sesame, also called Sesame Care, is a telehealth platform that provides care for physical and mental health concerns. You can use the website to look for doctors in your area, search by specific specialties or symptoms, and schedule an online or in-person appointment. Some of its specialties include urgent care, cardiology, primary care, and mental health care.

For mental health care, you can access individual therapy as well as couples therapy and family counseling. You can also use the platform for psychiatry consultations and to request refills on your prescription medications that treat mental health conditions.

How does Sesame Care work?

Sesame Care lists the four types of appointments you can schedule on its platform.

Selecting “mental health” on Sesame’s homepage brings you to a landing page where you can schedule a teletherapy or psychiatry appointment.

To use Sesame’s online therapy services, use the left-hand menu to select “Mental health” under “Types of care.” The mental health page indicates the types of services you can choose from, such as an individual or couples therapy session, a virtual prescription refill visit, or a video mental health consultation with a psychiatric provider who can prescribe medication as part of your treatment plan. If you have your location enabled, Sesame Care will automatically show you providers licensed to practice within your state. Some doctors may have appointment times during evenings and weekends.

Four video mental health consultation providers with their available appointment times.

Once you choose the type of service you need, you will be presented with a list of providers and their available appointment times.

When you click on the time you’d like to choose for your appointment, you’ll see a pop-up window advertising Sesame Plus, which is a subscription designed to help you save on all Sesame health care, including therapy and psychiatry. Sesame Plus members save $20 on every telehealth and primary care visit and $30 on all in-person dentist or specialist visits. Members also get one free lab or blood test per year. If you choose to subscribe, you can either pay $10.99 per month or $99 per year.

The pop-up advertising Sesame Plus gives you two options: activate your membership or select “maybe later.” Our Reviews Team chose “maybe later” and was able to schedule an appointment without a Sesame Plus membership.

A popup window asking whether we wanted to activate a Sesame Plus membership to get $20 off telehealth visits and other benefits.

You can choose to activate your Sesame Plus membership while scheduling your appointment or at a later date.

After making your selection, you can make your appointment. First, you’ll enter your contact and payment information. You have the option to save your information for future appointments by creating a free Sesame Care account, which requires an email address and password. Sesame Care’s platforms and systems are compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996, which is the federal law restricting the release of medical information. To keep your payments secure, Sesame uses Stripe, the same third-party payment platform used by Amazon, Instacart, and Booking.com, among others.

If you need to cancel an online appointment, you can do so up to three hours before your scheduled time for a full refund. You’ll be charged full price for any cancellations within the three-hour timeframe. For same-day appointments, you need to cancel within one hour of booking your appointment in order to avoid being charged full price.

How to get medication with Sesame Care

Sesame Care offers SesameRx, a service that offers prescriptions for some medications for as low as $5 with free shipping. To receive a prescription, you need to schedule a mental health consultation or psychiatry visit with a provider who can prescribe medication. If the provider decides your prescription is medically necessary, SesameRx will email or text you your prescription with a link to your cart. After you’ve paid, the medications should arrive within three to five business days.

Our Reviews Team inquired about whether SesameRx only offers generic medications and was told that it is up to the discretion of the provider. If you’d prefer a name-brand version of a medication instead of a generic, make sure to mention this to your Sesame provider. Since brand-name prescriptions need to be filled by a pharmacy other than SesameRx, your Sesame provider will send the prescription to the pharmacy of your choice. The price you’ll pay will depend on the pharmacy you choose. You may need to pick up your prescription in person if your pharmacy doesn’t offer prescription delivery.

How much does Sesame Care cost?

Sesame Care offers two different cost options for appointments. You can either pay per visit with an individual provider, or you can join Sesame Plus for $10.99 per month, or $99 per year. The monthly Sesame Plus membership gives you discounted rates for appointments and services. The Sesame Care website, for example, says that a one-time visit for a video therapy session might cost $72, while a Sesame Plus member would pay $52 for the same video therapy session, on top of the monthly membership fee.

Sesame works outside of insurance networks, and doctors handle their own administration through the platform. By cutting out administration costs and payments to insurance, Sesame Care providers are able to offer more affordable prices in some cases. Sesame lets each health care provider set their prices, which depend on where you live and the type of mental health care you need. When searching for online therapy on Sesamecare.com, our Reviews Team found providers offering appointments for as low as $35.

The NCOA BenefitsCheckUp tool can also connect you with programs that can help you save on health care, food, medicine, and more.

Sesame Care payment options

Sesame accepts the following debit or credit cards:

  • American Express
  • Discover
  • MasterCard
  • Visa

You must pay for your visit online, even if the visit will be in person. You’ll have to enter your card information directly; Sesame does not have the option to pay through another site such as PayPal.

Sesame does not accept insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid. If your insurance includes a health savings account (HSA) or flexible savings account (FSA), you can use your HSA or FSA debit card to pay for your Sesame Care visit.

Sesame Care customer service

Sesame offers three main options for contacting customer service: a live chat feature, an email and a phone number. Its phone line is available on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET and on weekends from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET. You can email Sesame Care customer service at support@sesamecare.com or call them at 877-947-6411.

Our Reviews Team called Sesame on a Saturday at noon ET to verify whether we could get brand-name drugs, and our call was answered in about three minutes. The representative was courteous, helpful, and informative.

Our Reviews Team also reached out to Sesame Care customer service using the live chat feature on a Thursday, also around noon ET. We asked the same question about prescriptions. We were given three generic answers about SesameRx and prescriptions from a bot, then asked if these answered our question. When we said these answers did not help, Sesame Care’s bot said there were no live chat agents available at the time, but the question could be submitted to customer service via email instead. Our Reviews Team member did so and received a detailed answer to their question within approximately three hours.

Table 1 Sesame Care vs. other brands comparison, as of December 2022

Therapy platformSession typesCost per monthOffers financial aidAccepts insurance
BetterHelpAudio, chat, video$240–$360 YesNo
BrightsideVideo$299–$349NoYes
SesameVideoDepends on providerNoNo
ZocDocVideoDepends on providerNoNo

Customer reviews of Sesame Care

Since Sesame Care is a telehealth platform, reviews cover the use of all of its services, not just mental health. Sesame has a B+ rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), with an average rating of 2.27 out of 5 stars out of 15 reviews. Sesame is not BBB accredited. Businesses have no obligation to seek accreditation, and some businesses are unaccredited because they haven’t applied.

Many of the negative Sesame reviews on BBB focus on patients’ experiences with the doctors themselves. Sesame online doctor reviews report practitioners who were late or missed their scheduled appointments. Other Sesame doctor reviews highlight rude or unresponsive doctors. Some customer complaints address Sesame medical care directly, noting difficulty receiving refunds or trouble with customer service. Sesame responded to all of the 10 complaints made against it over the last three years.

On Trustpilot, Sesame Care reviews are more positive. They average a 4.2-star rating with nearly 700 reviews, with more than 75% of them rating Sesame 5 stars. Positive reviews highlight the speed, efficiency, and convenience of the service. Similar to BBB, negative reviews tend to focus on difficulty receiving refunds and trouble with customer service. Sesame doctor reviews are mixed as well, with negative reviews citing late, unresponsive, or unhelpful providers. Sesame Care is also more active on Trustpilot than BBB. The company has claimed its profile on Trustpilot, which allows it to reply to reviews.3

Bottom line

Sesame Care can be a convenient and effective way to access online therapy. Pricing varies and depends on the service you choose, the provider you choose, and your state of residence since you can’t choose a provider who is not licensed in your state, even if you’re accessing your visits online.

If you are hoping to use insurance for mental health benefits, Sesame may not be the best choice, since its providers do not accept insurance. But if you’re looking for same-day appointments or you’re interested in the ability to book appointments as you need them instead of committing to a subscription, Sesame may be a good online therapy option.

Frequently asked questions

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

Sources

  1. American Psychological Association. What you need to know before choosing online therapy. Found on the Internet at https://www.apa.org/topics/telehealth/online-therapy
  2. National Center for Health Research. Does Online Therapy Work? Found on the internet at https://www.center4research.org/does-online-therapy-work/
  3. Trustpilot Help Center. What do ‘Unclaimed profile,’ ‘Claimed profile,’ and ‘Asks for reviews’ mean? Found on the internet at https://support.trustpilot.com/hc/en-us/articles/219386577
  4. LegitScript. Healthcare Merchant Certification. Found on the Internet at https://www.legitscript.com/certification/healthcare-certification/
  5. American Psychological Association. A growing wave of online therapy. Found on the internet at https://www.apa.org/monitor/2017/02/online-therapy.

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