Amwell Online Therapy Review

Online therapy with both therapists and psychiatrists available

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Amwell

Amwell is a telehealth company that not only provides virtual medical care, but also teletherapy and medication management. Its website is simple to use, and making appointments is relatively easy. However, computer glitches and a lack of clear communication between patients and therapists thwarted my efforts to evaluate the care directly.

Key Stats

  • Price: $109 (therapist) or $129 (psychiatrist, after initial consultation at $279)
  • Is insurance accepted?: Yes
  • Type of therapy: Couples therapy, family therapy, individual therapy, medication management, psychiatry, teen counseling
  • Communication options: Video chat
  • HIPAA compliant?: Yes
  • Is there an app?: Yes

Pros & Cons 

Pros

  • Accommodates most schedules
  • Online therapy and psychiatry available
  • Flat-rate fees (about half what you might pay for in-person therapy)
  • Sign-up is hassle-free
  • Easy-to-navigate website
  • Covered by many insurance plans

Cons

  • No sliding scale options
  • Cancellation fees apply
  • No free trial
  • Not covered by all insurance plans; no indication that it accepts Medicare or Medicaid
  • Technical difficulties can detract from experience
  • Only takes credit cards—no PayPal or other online pay options

The global cost of mental health disorders is projected to reach over $5 trillion for 2023, yet there is still a shortage of mental health professionals to treat this growing epidemic.

Amwell is attempting to bridge this gap by offering a sizable array of mental health services virtually, and its attempts to serve a diverse population are commendable. To evaluate its services, we surveyed 105 users of Amwell, spoke to subject matter experts about the company, and I tried to test the services myself. Here’s how the company fared.

What Is Amwell?

Founded by two doctors in 2006 and formerly known as American Well, Amwell is a telehealth company that offers primary care, urgent care, specialty consults, online therapy, and telepsychiatry. The acquisition of Aligned Telehealth in 2019 expanded its teletherapy offerings. 

The company operates in all 50 U.S. states and works with 55 health plans, which support over 36,000 employers and collectively represent more than 80 million covered lives, as well as 240 of the nation's largest health systems, encompassing more than 2,000 hospitals. In 2021, over 81,000 providers were using the Amwell platform. 

What Services Does Amwell Offer?

The company offers 24-hour teleconference access to licensed credentialed physicians as well as therapists and psychiatrists. Same-day appointments are advertised, although none of the therapists in my area had same-day availability. 

The service offers individual, family, and group therapy as well as psychiatry and medication management services. “If someone has a need for both therapy and meds, they can access both through one platform,” says Amy Marschall, PsyD, a licensed psychologist and a subject matter expert that worked with us on this project. 

Who Is Amwell For?

Amwell is a strong choice for people with limited options for in-person therapy where they live. According to its website, it also offers therapists that can treat people with menopause and postpartum mental health issues.

How Much Does Amwell Cost?

Therapy costs vary per provider and area served, but are simple and straightforward. You pay per appointment scheduled; your credit card information is saved from appointment to appointment to keep you from having to input it every time. 

The costs for appointments in Mississippi were $109 per appointment, about half of what I pay my regular therapist for an in-person appointment. I was unable to see what other areas’ providers might charge as I was limited to choosing only therapists licensed in my state. 

According to our user survey, 66% of Amwell’s users found this service to be affordable or very affordable, with insurance covering all or most of the costs. Nationally, therapy services range from $60 to $200 for an hour-long session. This statistic illustrates that, even without insurance, Amwell sits somewhere in the middle of the national price point. 

Does Amwell Take Insurance? 

Amwell currently works with 55 separate insurance plans across the country. Specialist visits, such as dermatologists, physical therapists, and neurologists, are paid upfront; however, Amwell provides receipts for reimbursement once you have your visit with a click on the “My Records” tab, followed by a click on “Previous Visits” to access your receipts. You can see a list of in-network providers by going to Insurance - Amwell

A caveat: the list does not mention Medicare or Medicaid at all. However, the site notes the list is not all-inclusive, and Amwell suggests you sign up to see if your insurance plan covers all of its services.

Of our users surveyed, 53%  noted that they liked the pay-per-session model and the range of insurance plans the company accepted.

Navigating the Amwell Website

To get started with Amwell, click on “For Patients” in the top right corner of the website. You can then find online therapy either by looking under the “Services” menu on the top left, or by scrolling about halfway down the page to where online therapy is featured. Similarly, to check for insurance coverage, you can either click “Insurance” within the “How it Works” menu on the top left, or scroll to the bottom of the page to find a complete list. 

Amwell Homepage

If you prefer, you can search by condition. Clicking on “depression,” for example, sends you to a page that includes a highly detailed overview of the condition, its types, causes, and risk factors, and treatment options. There are also links to pages for related conditions, such as panic attacks and bipolar disorder. From the condition pages, you can access the sign-up portal to register for online therapy services.  

Under the “For Patients” menu at the bottom of the page, there is a link to the patient support page, which has a phone number and email address for customer support in addition to a number to call to consult a provider over the phone. The site was very easy to navigate. Our surveyed users agreed, with 73% reporting that the Amwell website was easy to use.

Does Amwell Have an App?

Amwell does have an app available in the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. It is free to download. Fifty-two percent of our survey participants used either a smartphone or a tablet to interact with Amwell. In 2014, the app reached the one-million-downloads mark, according to the company blog. 

How Do You Sign Up for Therapy at Amwell?

When you are ready to create your account, click “Sign Up” in the top right corner of the site. You are then asked to select your insurance plan or click “do not have insurance.” 

Sign up for Amwell

Next, you are asked if you want to schedule a video or phone visit and your desired care type: Urgent Care, Behavioral Health, Specialty Care, Hospital Care, or Healthy Living. Under Behavioral Health, you can choose from therapy, psychiatry, adolescent therapy, menopause therapy, or pregnancy/postpartum therapy. Then you provide your name, email, birthdate, gender, phone number, address, insurance details, and state of residence. To make your appointment, you can either choose a provider or choose a date and see which therapists are available. 

Amwell Account

For my appointment, I chose “therapy,” and scheduled “by provider” to get a sense of the diversity of the staff. In my home state, I was offered a choice of seven counselors—four Black women, two white women, and one Filipino woman. 

I made my therapist choice and was given their available dates—the first available with my chosen therapist was a week out. Next-day appointments were available with two of the therapists. Bios of the therapists are available by clicking on their photographs, which gives you information about their education, fields of specialty, and other career-related details. Once I made an appointment, I filled out my credit card information and was informed of the cost, which I noted I would be paying myself without insurance during the billing process. I did not attempt to navigate the insurance billing system as my primary insurance—Medicare—was not listed as covered. 

How Do Therapy Sessions Work at Amwell? 

After I set up my appointment, I immediately received a confirmation email with the appointment date and time. However, when the day of the appointment came, I received no communication from the therapist as to how I would be able to contact her. I checked the website and found no record of my appointment. I called the customer service number and discovered that their system had crashed and that might have canceled my appointment. So I scheduled another appointment with a different therapist with sooner availability.

When the time came for the new appointment, I had been sent two reminders by Amwell that contained the link I would click on to start the appointment. I was asked to sign in 15 minutes before the appointment. After doing so, I was prompted through a series of steps to ensure that my camera, microphone, and internet speed were compatible with Amwell’s platform. Then, I answered a set of multiple-choice questions about my mood and other psychiatric symptoms. 

When my therapist arrived, she asked me what brought me to therapy. I told her I was interested in a life coaching-style session; I had an impending career decision I needed to make and wanted to talk it out with her. She immediately responded that this was not a service she offered (it was offered as a choice of therapy during the sign-up process) and that I needed to check with another therapist in the group that listed that kind of specialty on their bio. She assured me I would not be charged for the visit as long as I signed off immediately, which I did. 

I then made an appointment with another therapist. On the day of that appointment, I received a confirmation email for an appointment that was a week later than the one I had made. When I logged into my account, I saw the therapist had sent me a message saying she had an emergency come up and I would not be charged for the appointment. When I logged in to the next appointment she made a week later, I waited 15 minutes for my therapist to sign in. When I turned the video option off, I saw that the therapist had scheduled yet another appointment the next day, explaining that she was having difficulty signing into the video portal and was on the phone with Amwell technical support. 

This series of appointment mishaps was very frustrating, especially since in rescheduling the appointments, I had not been consulted about my availability. I canceled one rescheduled appointment because I was unavailable at that time. 

I made a different appointment with another therapist on a day and time I was available and felt lucky to be able to get an appointment that was within a few days. This time I waited 30 minutes for my therapist and noticed that there was an option for me to have the therapist text me when she was ready to have the appointment. I clicked that box, input my number, and was immediately sent an automated message that the provider had declined the visit.

I called customer service to ensure I would not be charged the fee for that visit or the cancellation fee. They were very helpful and gave me a case number in case my credit card was charged in the future. 

These encounters left me very frustrated. My experience, thankfully, was not typical: only 12% of our survey respondents ended therapy because they had a bad experience with the therapist or because the therapy wasn’t helping. 

Therapy Sessions at Amwell

According to Amwell’s website, therapy appointments typically last 45 minutes. According to our user survey, psychiatric appointments for medication management last from 15 to 30 minutes. Therapy modalities offered by therapists in my area included cognitive behavioral therapy, solutions-based therapy, and person-first therapy. One therapist available to me in Mississippi specified she was LGBTQIA+ friendly. Of users surveyed, 65% noted that they ended therapy because all of their goals were met or they were feeling better and no longer needed therapy.   

What Happens If I Miss a Session at Amwell?

I was never charged for the missed appointments because they were canceled by the therapist due to reasons beyond my control. If you need to miss a session, Amwell requires 24-hour advance notice of cancellation. If you do not give notice prior to 24 hours, you will be charged a fee set by your provider- with the default fee being $20.  

Switching Therapists at Amwell

I had no trouble making appointments with different therapists. You make new appointments individually every time and simply select a different therapist through the “by provider” link. Follow the same steps you used to pick your first therapist. 

Pausing or Canceling Therapy at Amwell

Canceling an individual appointment is accomplished by clicking the  “Cancel Appointment” button provided in the appointment notification. Since it is a pay-per-appointment system, no further action needs to be taken. You simply do not schedule another appointment with the service.

Quality of Care and User Satisfaction

Overall, 88% of users surveyed rated their experience at Amwell excellent, very good, or good, and 87% said all or most of their needs were met by their provider. What’s more, 76% of users were satisfied with the provider options at Amwell, and 68% reported that the process of finding a provider was easy.

I did appreciate that my therapist immediately determined she was not prepared to offer the kind of therapy that I said I needed, and that I easily found someone who did offer what I was looking for. Our survey showed that 91% of Amwell users rated their therapists’ qualifications positively.

Privacy Policies

Amwell’s privacy policies are available at the bottom of the homepage. The company states it uses the information collected online to:

  • Provide services 
  • Contact you
  • Fulfill your requests for products, services, and information
  • Send you information about additional clinical services or general wellness from Amwell or other affiliated groups or other third parties
  • Analyze the use of services to improve the services
  • Customize the content you see when you use the services
  • Conduct research using your information (which will be obtained with a separate release of information form)
  • Prevent prohibited or illegal activities 

“[Amwell] indicates in their privacy policy that all data is secured in HIPAA-compliant systems,” Dr. Marschall says. “My understanding is that their privacy policy does not indicate that they might use or sell your data to third parties. Many similar platforms don't commit to HIPAA compliance, and they indicate that they use your data for advertising or sell to other companies. To me, this legitimizes them, as it means they are prioritizing client privacy over maximizing profits.”

Amwell vs. Competitors

Of the users we surveyed, 88% rated Amwell as an improvement on other, similar services they’d used in the past. In particular, 65% found Amwell’s website and/or app easier to use than other services. Overall, 88% of users surveyed rated their experience at Amwell excellent, very good, or good, and 87% said all or most of their needs were met by their provider. What’s more, 68% of users reported that the process of finding a provider was easy. 

By contrast, our survey showed that 97% of users rated leading competitor Teladoc as excellent, very good, or good, and 80% reported that all or most of their needs were met by their provider.  As for finding a therapist, 71% found the process easy with Teladoc. In the case of competitor MDLIVE, 91% of users reported their experience was excellent, very good, or good, and 83% said all or most of their needs were met. 

Final Verdict

Generally, I found the sign-up process at Amwell to be impersonal, but intuitive. Having been in therapy for years with an in-person therapist (although we did do phone consults during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic), I found that personally, I prefer the in-person therapy experience. 

However, Amwell does offer services in many areas of the country where finding therapists might be difficult due to the rural nature of a state. More populated areas allow greater access to mental health care, while rural areas might have few to no options for in-person therapy providers. 

Given all of the technical glitches and appointment rescheduling, I do not think I would use Amwell again. Luckily, my experience was not typical, since our user survey showed the vast majority of clients had a positive experience with Amwell; 78% said they’d recommend the company to others and 70% said if they needed to find a new therapist, they would start their search again at Amwell.

Methodology

To fairly and accurately review the best online therapy programs, we sent questionnaires to 55 companies and surveyed 105 current users of each. This allowed us to directly compare services offered by gathering qualitative and quantitative data about each company and its users’ experiences.

Specifically, we evaluated each company on the following factors: website usability, the sign-up and therapist matching processes, therapist qualifications, types of therapy offered, the service's quality of care, client-therapist communication options, session length, subscription offerings, client privacy protections, average cost and value for money, whether it accepts insurance, how easy it is to change therapists, overall user satisfaction, and the likelihood that clients would recommend them. We also signed up for the companies in order to get a sense of how this process worked, how easy to use the platform is, and how therapy takes place at the company.

Updated by
Olivia Campbell
A white woman with red hair and blue glasses stands in front of green trees
Olivia Campbell is a health editor for performance marketing at Verywell. She is author of the New York Times best-selling book “Women in White Coats: How the First Women Doctors Changed the World of Medicine.”
Edited by
Olivia Campbell
A white woman with red hair and blue glasses stands in front of green trees
Olivia Campbell is a health editor for performance marketing at Verywell. She is author of the New York Times best-selling book “Women in White Coats: How the First Women Doctors Changed the World of Medicine.”
and
Simone Scully
Simone Scully Headshot
Simone is the health editorial director for performance marketing. She has over a decade of experience as a professional journalist covering mental health, chronic conditions, medicine, and science.
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Sources
Health.com uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Arias D, Saxena S, Verguet S. Quantifying the global burden of mental disorders and their economic value. EClinicalMedicine. 2022;54:101675. doi:10.1016/j.eclinm.2022.101675

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