The telehealth industry, which is the remote delivery of healthcare services, has grown tremendously over the past decade.
Within this, it is online therapy that has seen some of the largest growth. This is in part due to an increase in adults who receive mental health treatment altogether, but also from Covid-19 induced lockdowns in conjunction with the digitisation of the healthcare industry.
Online therapy is self-described by providers as being a way to build a relationship with professional, licensed therapists over the phone. The method of communication is often flexible, from video calls to text messaging, as well as being found to be effective akin to face-to-face treatment.
Google Trends data shows us that searches for “online therapy” in the US have increased by around 300% in the past decade. On the one hand, online therapy wasn’t widely available before this, but this can also be put down to the increased marketing exposure. Searches for online therapy in Texas also follow this increase in volume.
Online counseling and Insurance
Online counseling is still an infant industry, which has posed an issue for insurance companies in keeping up. However, online therapy Texas insurance is available, meaning counseling through insurance plans is still possible. With all online therapy sites that accept insurance being easily viewable, it’s a matter of pairing one’s own provider with the counseling provider of choice.
Some of the largest telehealth and online therapy sites accept insurance, such as Talkspace, Amwell, and Cerebral. As expected with healthcare insurance in the US, it’s a matter of receiving a discount for the service rather than it being completely paid for. This signals that it is up to the insurance providers as to whether
However, there are also many Telehealth market leaders that do not officially accept insurance in any form, such as BetterHelp, meaning it has no health insurance partners.
What the main insurance plans say
Cigna, one of America’s leading healthcare insurers, has partnered with Talkspace, one of the leading online counseling sites, to provide Cigna members online therapy “for the same cost as an in-network outpatient behavioral health visit at a provider's office”. Talkspace claims they accept insurance from Cigna, Optum, Premera Blue Cross, Resources for Living, and many other employer assistance programs. Most offer a copay plan after the deductible is met.
Blue Cross Blue Shield claims that most of their insurance plans cover online therapy, and the same goes for most large American healthcare insurers. The specific online therapy provider will need to be a part of the in-network, in which copay coverage can be accessed.
The consensus among the largest insurers and the largest online therapy providers is that most have partnerships, but coverage will not be free, even after deductibles. Instead, members will get access to the in-network pricing, which is often cheaper than the online therapy service pricing.
Medicare and Medicaid
Similarly to the private insurance firms, both Medicare and Medicaid have branched out their coverage for online therapy over the past few years.
Medicare has a page dedicated to Telehealth, in which it maintains that “after you meet the Part B deductible, you pay 20% of the Medicare-Approved Amount”. This deductible is currently $233 in 2022.
Talkspace, despite being a leading provider, is not available through Medicare, though Amwell, Cerebral, and many others are.
Medicaid is more difficult to conclude, as coverage is dependent on the State. It is clear that Medicaid has been increasingly inclusive of Telehealth during the Covid-19 pandemic, with the likes of Amwell and Cerebral also accepting Medicaid.
Each state has a Medicaid point of contact for citizens to ring and ask for more information on which Telehealth providers are available through Medicaid. The telephone number for Texas is 800-335-8957.
Online therapy Texas Medicaid covers telehealth services that range from medical to therapy. This is good news for Texans, with many of the largest online counseling providers also being available in Texas.
However, the Texas Medicaid & Healthcare Partnership website does not have the ability to filter the provider search for Telehealth therapy, highlighting a lack of attention on this area of mental healthcare.
Online counseling with insurance is possible for Texans, along with online therapy Texas Medicare. For now, online mental health services remain elusive to Texas Medicaid compared to other states, despite the literature saying otherwise. A phone call, as opposed to an online search, is therefore recommended.