6 Reasons Why You Should Consider Online Psychotherapy

Barbara Martin

I successfully completed all of my holiday shopping online this year and I am not alone in this technologically savvy feat. In 2017, over half of the US population holiday shopped without visiting a brick and mortar store. For most of us, online shopping has become the norm, even my cat food gets delivered to the door (way too heavy to carry). As this trend continues to grow, the medical industry is finally catching on! Today, many of us can get our medical services online, in particular, psychotherapy. Yup, now you can get your therapy sitting on your OWN couch.

Due to the growing need for easier access and the on-demand trend of our culture, more and more health providers are offering online care. Concurrently, there has been a nationwide shift of private insurers covering telehealth behavioral health services. Private insurers are leaning in this direction because online services are more economical. Insurers have also determined that the telehealth technology used to treat patients is indistinguishable from a face to face visit in terms of treatment outcomes. Meaning chatting with your therapist online can be just as effective as in-person.

What is Behavioral Health Telehealth?

Behavioral health telehealth is a live video consultation between a behavioral health therapist and a patient via smart phone, computer or tablet. Basically, the service is a lot like FaceTiming your friend, although FaceTime is not recommended because of its lack of HIPPA compliancy (AKA…secure connection that is confidential). Many providers offer online psychotherapy, some may take insurance and some may not, much like what would happen if you scheduled an in-person session. If your insurance benefits include behavioral health telehealth coverage AND your psychotherapist offers online services (psychotherapists aren’t required to offer online services even if they take your insurance) then all or a percentage of your services will be paid for by your insurance provider.

Fabulous! How Does It Work?

Using insurance requires that the telehealth service is conducted as a real-time interaction with a licensed mental health clinician through a HIPPA compliant, video-enabled platform. Audio-only telephone and email are typically not covered by private insurance, but can be used if you are not using your insurance to cover services.

If you have decided that telehealth is for you, contact your mental health provider to learn which of the numerous HIPPA compliant telehealth video platforms they will use such as doxy.me, securevideo.com etc. Download the agreed upon HIPPA compliant video service application to your phone, computer or tablet. Like Skype, you will receive an invitation to join the online video service. Once you connect to the service for your scheduled appointment time, you may be held in a virtual waiting room until the therapist connects and begins the session. Payment for these services are typically managed electronically via services such as Paypal or Square.

How Do I Find Out if Insurance Will Pay for Telehealth?

Contact your insurance plan and ask if your benefit package covers behavioral health telehealth. You should ask specifically if they cover codes:

  • 90791 GT (Initial Diagnostic Evaluation)

  • 90834 GT (45 Minute Therapy)

  • 90847 GT (Family Therapy)

Why should you consider it?

Online therapy can provide highly effective and efficient treatment. Here are 6 reasons to pursue your mental health treatment online:

    1. Access – To the top psychotherapists even if you live in a remote area.

    2. Convenience – If you are injured or sick, you don’t have to travel to a medical office.

    3. Lack of Transportation  – If there is inclement weather or your car is in the shop, you can still have your appointment.

    4. Money & Time Efficient – Eliminates the cost of transportation or parking and takes you less time to get to and from your session.

    5. Flexible Scheduling – Services can be offered at times that many in-person services would not be able to accommodate.

    6. Effective Treatment – Many find online therapy treatment just as effective as in-person.

So…if you think you don’t have the time or money for psychotherapy, think again! The convenience of telehealth support has arrived and it just may be the best fit for your lifestyle.


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