Is Online Therapy Covered by Insurance in Canada?

Written By

Emily Thompson


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Online therapy has rapidly grown in popularity thanks to its convenience and accessibility. As more Canadians turn to virtual counselling services, a common question arises: is online therapy covered by insurance providers?

This guide explores the insurance landscape for online therapy in Canada.

Insurance Coverage Varies Across Providers

Insurance coverage for online therapy is inconsistent across Canada. Some private insurers, employee assistance plans (EAPs), and health spending accounts (HSAs) extend benefits to virtual counselling.

However, many standard plans still limit reimbursements to in-person services only. When covered, online therapy is often subject to the same dollar limits, deductibles, and restrictions as traditional therapy.

For example, Manulife and Sun Life, two of the largest national insurers, reimburse video counselling sessions up to $75-100 per visit.

Check The Fine Print

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The devil lies in the details. Granular terms and conditions ultimately determine whether online therapy qualifies under your health plan. Key factors include:

  • Diagnosis: Many policies limit access to certain mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. Therapy for other issues may not qualify.
  • Type of Service: Does your plan recognize video and chat-based therapy sessions as eligible healthcare services? Or only in-office visits?
  • Provider Credentials: Does your insurer require specific licensure or credentials to reimburse services? Most mandate registration with the provincial college.

Always contact your insurance company to review specifics before pursuing virtual sessions. An hour of preventative legwork can save hundreds in unexpected bills.

Alternative Options Expand Access

For Canadians without clear coverage, viable alternatives exist to access online counselling. These include:

  • Self-Pay: Paying out-of-pocket for therapy grants the freedom to choose your preferred practitioner. Many offer reduced sliding scale rates.
  • Workplace Programs: EAPs provide employees a number of free, confidential therapy sessions.
  • Non-Profits: Organizations like the Canadian Mental Health Association fund free video counselling and peer support programs.

While insurance seldom covers the full spectrum of online services, flexible options exist for those seeking virtual mental health aid.

Comprehensive provincial resources also help connect residents to government funded supports.

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Bottom Line

Online therapy introduces much-needed accessibility, convenience, and affordability to mental healthcare. On the other hand, Canada still lacks consistent coverage across providers.

The wisest path lies in verifying the details of your unique insurance plan before starting sessions. Even without firm coverage, alternative financing, and free programs also increase access for Canadians.

As virtual care continues its rise, now marks the time to review your plan’s current offerings. Reach out today to confirm coverage details from your insurance provider or employee benefits manager.

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About the author

Emily Thompson

Emily Thompson

Hello there! I'm Emily Thompson, a proud Londoner and writer with a fervor for breaking down the complexities of therapy in this modern, digital era. My roots are in London, right in its bustling heart, and it was here at King's College London that I earned my degree in journalism. It was during those transformative years at university that my curiosity for mental health was ignited, propelling me to further study and earn a Masters in Clinical Psychology. I have a unique ability to simplify intricate therapy notions into easily understandable and relatable content, essentially bridging the chasm between the clinical environment and everyday folks like you and me.Social

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