Teletherapy and Medical Billing: What You Need to Know

Teletherapy, also known as online therapy, has become increasingly popular in the past few years. And for good reason: it's a convenient approach to therapy that allows everyone to connect with licensed professionals from the comfort of their homes. This includes not only people who find online therapy easier to fit into their busy lives, but also clients with disabilities and those anxious or afraid of starting in-person therapy.

However, teletherapy billing can be confusing for both clients and healthcare providers as there are many different reimbursement policies across different insurance companies.

In this blog post, we break down everything you need to know about teletherapy and explore the nuances of medical billing in this context.

Understanding Teletherapy

Teletherapy is a method of receiving (or providing, in the case of therapists) mental health care remotely.

It uses digital technology to connect clients with qualified healthcare professionals, allowing them to have sessions via video calls, phone calls, or sometimes text messages.

For clients, online therapy has numerous advantages. For one, it's incredibly convenient as you don't have to commute to your therapist's office – you just connect with your therapist through a secure online platform, and you're ready to go.

This makes it a better option for people with mobility issues and those living in remote areas. Attending therapy online can also sometimes be easier for people who struggle with social anxiety.

Finally, teletherapy is often more affordable as therapists who only treat patients online don't have to rent office space.

Insurance Coverage for Teletherapy

Speaking of affordability, you might be wondering if your insurance covers teletherapy. Unfortunately, we cannot give you a definitive "yes" or "no" answer here, as this varies depending on your insurance provider, your specific plan, as well as your state. Thankfully, many insurers recognize the value of teletherapy today and offer coverage.

Still, it's best to contact your insurance company to learn more if this type of treatment is covered by your specific policy.

If your insurance doesn't cover teletherapy or if you prefer to keep your therapy private, you can still access these services. Many therapists and counseling services offer affordable out-of-pocket rates, so if that works for you, you can pay directly for each session without involving insurance.

Medical Billing and Medical Coding

Now, let's clear up a common source of confusion: medical billing vs medical coding in the context of online therapy.

Let's start with medical billing: what is it, and how does it work?

Medical billing is the process of creating invoices for healthcare services and submitting them to insurance companies or patients for payment. It involves verifying insurance coverage, determining patient responsibility, and generating bills.

Medical coding, on the other hand, refers to translating medical documents into a standardized language. To be more precise, it is translating the healthcare provider's notes about a patient's visit into standardized numeric or alphanumeric codes. These codes describe diagnoses, services, or treatments provided during the visit or session. Accurate coding is essential because it ensures that the billed services align with the care the patient has actually received.

When it comes to teletherapy, therapists use specific billing codes to submit claims to insurance companies or create invoices for patients. These codes indicate the type of service provided and help ensure that the therapist receives appropriate reimbursement.

It's important to note that these codes may differ from those used for in-person therapy, so therapists must be well-versed in teletherapy billing codes for your region.

Choosing a Provider

If you're considering online therapy, it's important to choose a therapist who is experienced in it and knowledgeable about the ins and outs of medical billing for these services.

To ensure everything goes smoothly, ask potential therapists about their familiarity with insurance billing processes.

Another thing to pay attention to when choosing an online therapist is the privacy and security of your personal and medical information. To make sure your sensitive data is safe, make sure your therapist uses a HIPAA-compliant platform for teletherapy sessions.

HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) sets strict guidelines for the protection of patient information, including electronic communications, so it's best to stick with therapists who use HIPAA-compliant platforms.


Teletherapy offers a convenient way to participate in therapy. But to ensure you get the most out of your online therapy, it's important to understand exactly how it works and grasp the essentials of medical billing in this context.

The good news is that whether your insurance covers teletherapy or you opt for out-of-pocket payments, you can still receive the help you need from the comfort of your home.

Interested in a self-guided program for mental health? Our Mental Wellbeing Toolkit is "like 10 therapy sessions in one."
The Mental Wellbeing Toolkit


About Rebecca

Rebecca is the founder of The Wellness Society and author of two fluff-free books, The Framework and Understanding and Healing Trauma.

She's passionate about creating concise and compassionate mental health and wellbeing tools that address the root causes of distress.

Read more about her views on our About page.