Brightside Health Review – Best Online Therapy Platform For Prescription Medication And Insurance Coverage

By Jared Levenson - Reviewed on February 16, 2023
Our team evaluates mental health products, services and platforms like BetterHelp. If you click a link below and make a purchase, we will receive an affiliate commission. Learn more.
Only Suicide Online Treatment Covered By Insurance
Brightside Health | Best for 1) Evidence-Based Online Therapy & Medication 2) Crisis Care Brightside Health | Best for 1) Evidence-Based Online Therapy & Medication 2) Crisis Care
4.6
$0-$349 / Month

Brightside Health is a cutting-edge mental health service specializing in online therapy and medication management for adults struggling with anxiety and depression. Brightside Health is currently the first national telehealth program treating individuals with elevated suicide risk, accepting insurance plans for 50 million Americans. It offers the best choice for individuals with insurance coverage who want a prescription medication and therapy service. Offering a comprehensive approach that includes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), it's an ideal choice for those seeking evidence-based treatments. However, Brightside doesn't provide a wide range of services and is not as widely known.

Pros:
  • Accepts insurance
  • Best for evidence-based treatment
  • First & only national telehealth treatment for suicidality
  • Offers best medication plus therapy package
  • Self-care videos included in all subscriptions
  • Check-in quizzes to help monitor progress and other tools to measure progress
  • Safe medication policies in place
Cons:
  • Not as widely known
  • Option to switch therapists is slow
  • Offers video therapy only; no audio-only or live chat sessions
  • No same day appointments
  • Responses from customer service can take over 24 hrs
  • Focuses on anxiety, depression, and crisis care – if you have another condition, look elsewhere
  • Only available to individuals over 18

You’re not the only one who has trouble with anxiety or depression. But do you get coverage from insurance for high-quality therapy?

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) says an anxiety disorder affects 40 million American adults. Additionally, in 2020, at least one major depressive episode happened to about 21 million adults in the U.S.

Fortunately, telehealth platforms like Brightside Health now help with anxiety and depression through therapy, medicine, or both.

But is Brightside the service for your mental health needs?

After thorough analysis, our Online Mental Health Reviews conclusion is that Brightside is an overall high-quality, compelling online therapy service best for people:

  1. Have insurance
  2. Struggle with anxiety and depression
  3. Open to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  4. Want both medication prescription and high-quality therapy

Want to learn more? We’ve extensively researched Brightside and are here to give you both the good, the bad, and everything in between.

Our Brightside Health Experience

Below, you can see our first secret shopper experience:

Brightside Health Online Therapy - Live Session Recorded

Our team purchased 1 month of Brightside’s Therapy + Meditation subscription plan, met with their providers, and secretly recorded our entire experience (keeping provider details anonymous).

I felt like its system was a well-designed, well-oiled machine. Everything went smoothly overall, in part because Brightside doesn’t offer patients choices.

Seriously! One of the unique features of Brightside is that you do not choose your provider to prevent information overload.

Plus, Brightside’s patient medication selection method has proven promise, too.

A January 2022 Cureus study indicated that Brightside patients had 50% greater response and remission rates than those receiving standard depression treatment from a large Midwestern health institution.

What is Brightside Health?

Brightside Health (https://brightside.com) is an online therapy and medication management program for adults (18 and up) who are depressed or anxious. 

  1. It puts a lot of emphasis on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which meta-research has shown that even online CBT therapy can help people with depression and anxiety.
  2. Brightside also helps people with other anxiety and depression-related mental health problems, such as generalized anxiety disorder and depression, after giving birth.
  3. It made our list of the best online therapy platforms because of its high-quality services and its acceptance of insurance from 55 million Americans.
How Does Brightside Health Work? I Sign-Up, Purchase a Plan, and See About Insurance Coverage

Brightside Key Points Table

Frequently Asked Question


Answer

Prices

$95 to $349

Take Insurance?

Yes but only a few insurance providers are accepted

Types of Therapy

Individual therapy based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Provides Education and Tools

Included With every plan

Communication Options

Live video, messaging

Prescriptions Available

Yes

Unique Features

Track your results
Treat anxiety and depression
Great intake questionnaires
Simple effective design

Why Brightside Founded

Brightside, founded in 2017 by Brad Kittredge, Mimi Winsberg, MD, and Jeremy Barth, provides online psychiatry and talk therapy to guarantee everyone has access to mental health care.

After learning that his father, like so many others, struggled to get depression treatment, Kittredge started the company to provide the kind of care he hoped his father had been able to receive.

Brightside Strengths

  1. Accessible – Brightside is available to 55 million Americans through health insurance, making Brightside one of the most accessible and affordable online therapy services.
  2. Quality – Brightside therapy and medication are quality. We had a straightforward, beneficial, and impactful experience with a female psychiatrist. Our therapy conversation was enjoyable as well.
  3. Evidence-Based – Brightside gives a comprehensive questionnaire that makes the reviewer feel more certain about the overall quality of the platform.

Please note: Our Brightside psychiatrist did not recommend medications. Expecting drugs to be pushed down our throats, we were appreciative when no medications were recommended.

Weaknesses of Brightside

  1. Brightside Health doesn’t have private Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs). Talkspace, a competitor of Brightside Health, accepts more EAPs.
  2. Brightside Health has traditionally specialized in anxiety and depression with high effectiveness rates. This has meant that other conditions, such as eating disorders or suicide, were left unaddressed.

Who is Brightside For / Not for

  • If you have health insurance, you likely qualify to receive therapy services for free or reduced costs.
  • If you want to work with evidence-based therapies (not faith-based)
  • Primary mental health areas of improvement are anxiety and depression
  • Those who want to try Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Who For

Who Not For

Brightside may be a suitable choice if you need internet counseling to treat multiple depression or anxiety symptoms.

  • Bipolar 2

  • Major Depressive Disorder

  • Phobias

  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PSD)

  • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

  • Social Anxiety Disorder 

  • Panic Disorder

  • Insomnia

Brightside isn't for everyone because it's an online depression and anxiety counseling service, and cannot help under these situations:

  • Suicidal individuals

  • Self-harm

  • Psychiatric involuntary hospitalization

  • Schizophrenia

  • Alcoholism

  • High-risk eating disorder

  • Renal, liver, seizure, or extended QT

  • ADHD

Choosing a therapist at Brightside

Brightside Health will match you with a provider and schedule an appointment if you are suitable. Brightside Health automatically matches you with physicians based on your area and schedule.

Therapist Switching Process

  • You can transfer therapists at any time, but it’s complicated.
  • When our team tried to switch therapists, the user portal seemed scant. You need to write a message to Brightside and establish a ticket, and then they promise to respond within 24 hours.
  • Again, Brightside will choose your next therapist.

How fast do Brightside therapists respond

  • On weekdays, most Brightside providers will answer your message within 72 hours. Providers don’t check their email all the time or on the weekends.
  • If you have a mental health emergency, please call or text 988 immediately for help.

How long are Brightside therapy sessions?

  • The therapy sessions are 45 minutes long.
  • If you want more time or sessions with your therapist, you can pay $59 per session for more video appointments.
  • Overall, the therapist quality at Brightside is one of the best we’ve seen. Their intake questionnaires are the best we’ve seen.

Quality = 4.8/5

Brightside Medication

Brightside Medication Plan is a support plan that costs $95 per month. They did not pressure us to sign up for medication.

  • 30-minute initial onboarding call
  • 3x 15-minute calls for the rest of the month
  • Message psychiatrist anytime
  • Delivery to your local pharmacy or your home

Brightside Therapy + Medication

The combined therapy and medication plan is the best in the telehealth industry if you need both therapy and medication.

Both plans can be put together for $349 per month, a savings of $45. In addition to the benefits of the medication plan, you get unlimited messages and a weekly video session with a certified therapist who helps you navigate a customized program using evidence-based techniques.

We think the therapy + medication plan is the best on the market in terms of price and quality.

Brightside Health 1st Meeting with Psychiatrist for Meds

Does insurance cover Brightside?

Brightside Health accepts insurance from these significant providers:

  1. Aetna
  2. Allegiance
  3. Anthem Blue Cross
  4. Cigna
  5. S & S Healthcare Strategies
  6. United Healthcare

Brightside Health says their health partnerships give over 55 million Americans insurance coverage.

Does Brightside accept HSA or FSA?

Brightside also takes payments from flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and health savings accounts (HSAs) (FSAs).

How Much Does Brightside Cost

Plan 

Medication

Therapy

Medication + Therapy

Price

$95 / Month

$299 / Month

$345 / Month

Sessions

0

4 x 30 mins

4 x 30 mins

Medications

FDA-approved medicine match with PrecisionRX

Unlimited Messaging

No

Yes

Yes 

Online Learning & Tools

Brightside offers three different plans for membership. All plans come with educational and self-tracking tools:

Medication Only ($95)

  • With the medication-only plan, a psychiatric provider can fully evaluate you from a distance.
  • Your prescribed medicine will be sent to your door, and your provider will keep an eye on you and help you as needed.
  • The plan costs $95 monthly, plus your co-pay at the pharmacy if your insurance covers prescriptions.
  • If you don’t have health insurance, each prescription will cost you $15.

Only Therapy ($299)

  • You can see a licensed therapist through the therapy-only plan.
  • Send as many messages as you want and have four 45-minute video chats monthly.
  • Your therapist will work with you to make a program that fits your needs and helps you manage your mental health.
  • You can pay $59 each for more video appointments with your therapist.

Medicine + Treatment ($349)

  • The plan that includes both medication and therapy is called the “medication and therapy” plan.
  • It costs $349 a month, plus a co-payment at the pharmacy. If you don’t have health insurance, each prescription will cost you $15.

Cost = 4.7 / 5

How to Get a Refund on Brightside Health

Brightside Privacy Policy

In the privacy notice, users’ data will be anonymous but shared with researchers.

  • Research collaborators can access protected health information for confidential data analysis.
  • Brightside tries to reassure users by saying researchers are also held to a standard of confidentiality.
  • Yet data cannot be withheld from researchers. While this may be harmless, the inability to opt out of data sharing is troubling.

Brightside Customer Service and Telephone Number

Email Brightside at support@brightside.com or call (415) 360 – 3348. Our experience with customer support via email was that they were responsive within 72 hours.

Who Are The Competitors To Brightside Health?

Here are some of the best alternatives to Brightside Health to get therapy and medicine online in 2023:

  1. BetterHelp: BetterHelp offers comprehensive online mental health treatment options with licensed therapists available around the clock.
  2. Talkspace: Talkspace lets users connect with licensed therapists from their phones or computers. They offer different types of providers to meet all your needs for medications or therapy.
  3. MDLive: MDLive provides virtual counseling services for adults and children, offering psychiatry, psychology, and other mental health services.
  4. Open Path Collective: Through their network of licensed therapists who offer sliding scale fees based on income level, Open Path Collective offers affordable online therapy services.
  5. Cerebral: Cerebral is an online platform connecting users with experienced therapists specializing in treating anxiety and depression with evidence-based techniques like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

Brightside Health Review: The Verdict

Brightside is currently the best and most insurance-accessible Medication and Therapy Plan in the entire telehealth industry.

Brightside Health Review - $95 - $349
brightside health logo

Name: Brightside Health Review

Description: Best Online Therapy Platform For Anxiety, Depression And Insurance Coverage

Offer price: $95 - $349

Currency: $

Operating System: Online Software

Application Category: Online Therapy Platform

Author: Online Mental Health Reviews

[ More ]

Overall
4.7
  • Third-Party Reviews
    (4.5)
  • Quality
    (4.8)
  • Cost
    (4.7)
  • Design
    (4.6)

Leave a Reply

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Related Posts