How Much Does Therapy Cost With and Without Insurance?

While sitting in a comfortable waiting room, female doctor listens to her patient about mental health problems.
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Life is sometimes tough and challenging, and therapy can be helpful. However, finding affordable and convenient care can be a challenge. It’s well-known that therapy is expensive, but how much does therapy cost?

How Much Do Most Therapy Sessions Cost?

Traditional therapy costs around $100 to $200 per visit if you don’t have insurance. With health insurance, you can expect to pay your copay, which depends on your insurance plan but is likely to be between $20 and $50 per session.

People seek therapy for various reasons, but the cost can be a significant barrier for those without insurance or with high copays.

Lower Cost Options

Effective and affordable therapy treatment is available at a range of costs. Online and phone therapy are also popular — and often less expensive — alternatives to traditional in-person therapy sessions.

You can also seek therapy from a service like BetterHelp, which costs between $60 and $90 weekly, based on client needs, location and therapist availability and experience.

Therapy Rates On a Sliding Scale

Some patients qualify for paying for therapy sessions on a sliding scale. This means that if you earn below a certain income level annually, you can pay less than the full rate for your hourly therapy sessions without using insurance.

The Average Cost of Therapy by Location

The cost of therapy in the U.S. varies based on location. For example, seeing a therapist in New York can cost about $213 per hour, while it would be $135 an hour in Idaho. Here are some average hourly rates for therapy sessions without health insurance in different U.S. states.

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State Average Therapy Session Cost per Hour
Alabama $192
Alaska $207
California $192
Indiana $153
Nebraska $193
New York $213
North Carolina $149
Oklahoma $191
Rhode Island $161
Texas $159
Utah $203
Wyoming $145

Why Is Therapy So Expensive?

Becoming a licensed therapist requires considerable expense upfront — therapists have to earn a Master’s degree at a minimum, and many have a PhD, as well. They also have to maintain their licenses and certifications by taking continuing education and paying fees.

There is also high demand for therapists, and this often translates to long waitlists and high cost for patients.

Do Therapists Accept Insurance?

Unfortunately, most therapists don’t accept insurance. Here are some of the reasons why.

  • A shortage of therapists. Reputable therapists are in demand, and supply is low. It’s been proven that many patients are willing to pay out of pocket for a good therapist, and financially challenged clients may not be able to secure treatment from their preferred mental health professional
  • Health insurance red tape. Sometimes working with insurance companies can be demanding, requiring lots of documentation to justify a patient’s treatment.
  • Low insurance reimbursement rates. When a therapist bills an insurance company for treating a patient, they typically only receive about half the cost or less. However, reimbursement rates vary by insurance company.

Is Paying for Therapy Worth It?

Studies do suggest that therapy can be effective in increasing levels of happiness. Additional research supports that online therapy is as effective as seeing a therapist face-to-face.

People seek therapy for different reasons — from treatment for specific diagnoses to couples’ counseling — with different desired outcomes. Finding the right therapist is a huge part of making sure it’s worth your money, but ultimately, only you can decide if it’s working for you.

Amber Barkley contributed to the reporting for this article.

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