Online medical and counseling services have exploded in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, and it’s not hard to see why. The convenience of near-instantaneous, on-demand appointments from the comfort of your home is hard to deny, even without the benefits of mitigating health risks associated with in-person appointments. And often these online companies are cheaper than in-person visits, since they have lower overhead costs and eliminate middlemen by sending you straight to your provider.
HealthSapiens, founded long before the pandemic, is one of these services. It takes a comprehensive approach to healthcare by matching you with licensed therapists and board-certified doctors to meet both your mental health and medical needs, at a low monthly subscription price. Is HealthSapiens right for you? We’ll help you decide.
- No insurance required
- Available 24/7 in all 50 states
- Can order and refill medical prescriptions
- No contract–can cancel anytime (with small cancellation fee)
- Doctors are board-certified and therapists are licensed
- Offers phone, video chat, messaging, and face-to-face options
- Unlimited medical appointments for a low monthly subscription price
- Therapists can’t prescribe pharmaceuticals
- No couples or family counseling
- No individual medical subscription
- Lack of transparency regarding prices and details of service
- Users report poor customer service and misleading information regarding fees
Health Sapiens is an online medical and counseling service that matches you with the best professionals for a low monthly price.
No insurance is required to fill prescriptions, book a medical appointment, or recieve online therapy. Health Sapiens offers a variety of solutions for everyday physical and mental health. Get access by choosing a monthly subscription.
If you’re looking for affordable healthcare for uncomplicated conditions, available when and how you need it, HealthSapiens offers great convenience and access at a low cost. But if you’re looking for frequent therapy sessions, or have complex medical conditions, we believe HealthSapiens is not for you.
HealthSapiens, founded 14 years ago, currently offers two different subscription services: a telehealth plan, which covers medical care for up to six people in your household, and a telecounseling plan, which matches one individual with therapists specializing in your unique needs. The telehealth plan offers unlimited appointments, and boasts that you can “speak with a doctor within 15 minutes.” The telecounseling plan, however, only includes eight sessions over a six-month period.
Both services work on a variety of platforms, including phone, video chat, and direct messaging. For its telecounseling service, though, Health Sapiens also offers in-person counseling sessions, unlike entirely virtual services like BetterHelp.
Because both of its services are available 24/7, HealthSapiens is ideal for people who have complicated schedules or who are worried about missing work to go to medical or therapy appointments. HealthSapiens is also great for people who aren’t yet established with a primary care doctor or therapist, or who want to try out a few people before committing to one.
In terms of medical care, HealthSapiens sees itself as a “first line of defense.” That is, it’s great if you are trying to figure out whether your symptoms merit seeing a specialist, or if you’re trying to decide if you should rush to the ER or not. But don’t expect it to be your last line of defense. Most of the health conditions addressed by its telemedicine service are relatively minor and non-chronic. If you have a complicated or life-threatening condition like epilepsy or heart disease, it’s best to seek treatment from a specialist. And since its system randomly connects you with a provider, you won’t be able to have a follow-up appointment with the same doctor later on.
Similarly, on the counseling side, HealthSapiens’ limits on the number of counseling sessions (only eight every six months) mean that it is not sufficient for people requiring frequent therapy sessions. Neither can its therapists prescribe pharmaceuticals or refill existing prescriptions–so don’t count on them for antidepressants or anti-anxiety medication.
A portion of HealthSapiens’ business is directed at employers. It offers healthcare employee benefit plans for small businesses which fall in between full insurance benefits and no health benefits. These can even include coverage for emergency room visits and in-patient hospital stays.
Cost: $35 per month
How it works
HealthSapiens works around existing insurance networks by connecting you directly with board-certified physicians. Visits are virtual or via phone, and are available 24/7, 365 days a year. HealthSapiens even boasts that you can sign up and get an appointment within 15 minutes!
Because of this virtual setup, overhead costs are less compared to a traditional doctor’s office. As a result, HealthSapiens’ prices are usually lower than paying for an in-person consultation or emergency room visit out-of-pocket. And because the subscription covers up to six people in your household, it can be a really good deal for families.
However, because it bypasses insurance networks, HealthSapiens won’t work with any insurance plans you already have. Depending on your plan, and how often you visit the doctor, the co-pay of an in-person visit may be less than paying for a HealthSapiens subscription.
HealthSapiens’ telehealth services are designed to address a wide range of issues, including:
- Ear Ache
- Eye Infection
- Flu / Influenza
- Rash / Skin Infection
- Sinus Infection
- Small Wound
- Stomach Ache
- Upper Respiratory Infection
- Yeast Infection
Most medical issues treated at HealthSapiens are ones that would normally be addressed by a primary care physician. That is, these are not specialists who deal with complicated, often life-threatening conditions like diabetes or heart disease; such complex conditions are best treated by a specialist who is better prepared to assess your unique needs with in-depth knowledge and experience. HealthSapiens is also designed as an out-patient service, that is, for things that don’t require you to be admitted to the hospital.
HealthSapiens also doesn’t allow you to stay with the same doctor. Whereas in a traditional doctor’s office, you will usually be able to follow up with the same physician, or at least someone in the same practice, HealthSapiens is not able to schedule follow-up appointments with a doctor you saw before.
However, HealthSapiens can be a great starting point if you aren’t sure whether you should be seeing a specialist, or if it is a relatively minor problem that can be addressed in a primary care capacity. For issues that may be more serious, HealthSapiens doctors can help you determine whether you should go to the ER or see a specialist.
HealthSapiens’ physicians are board-certified, and they can write or refill any prescriptions you may need. This includes sending your prescriptions directly to your preferred pharmacy.
To get started, head to HealthSapiens’ website and sign up for the telehealth plan, which covers medical services. For $35 per month, you and your entire household (up to 6 people total) can get unlimited access to medical appointments.
Keep in mind, though, that HealthSapiens immediately bills your credit card, before you put in any of your other personal, medical information; it doesn’t wait until you use the service. So beware of signing up if you don’t intend to use the service right away. Also, if you sign up for a free trial, you will automatically be billed at the start of your trial. If you cancel before the trial ends, HealthSapiens will refund the subscription back to you, minus a cancellation fee.
Once you sign up, all you need to do is log into your patient portal or call HealthSapiens’ toll-free number to sign up for a phone or video consultation. You are not charged per visit, so make as many as you like!
Cost: $197/month, eight sessions over six months
How it works
As with most online health providers, HealthSapiens saves you money on therapy by connecting you directly with a licensed therapist with at least one year of experience. In-person counseling sessions are usually limited to 50 minutes and can cost anywhere from $100-250 (or more!) per session. Because HealthSapiens has few or no office costs, however, and because it doesn’t deal with insurance companies, it can save money on overhead, passing those savings on to you.
HealthSapiens also gives you the added convenience of being able to message your therapist at any time, via text, email, or chat.
Issues addressed by HealthSapiens’ telecounseling services include, but are not limited to:
- Grieving/Loss of a Loved One
- Insomnia/Trouble Sleeping
- Mood Disorders
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Relationship Issues
- Substance Abuse
- Teen/Parenting Issues
Included in HealthSapiens’ counseling options are pre-clinical sessions. These are informal sessions addressing issues not yet associated with a medical diagnosis or part of a mental health treatment program. So if you simply want to sit down with a Master’s-level counselor to talk about your bad day at work or your tenuous relationship with your significant other, HealthSapiens is ready for you.
Keep in mind also that HealthSapiens’ counselors–not you–determine how many sessions are appropriate and how often. While its medical appointments are unlimited, HealthSapiens only allows you eight sessions of therapy every six months. This works out to 1-2 sessions per month. If you are used to regular weekly therapy sessions, or even more frequently, HealthSapiens’ telecounseling is probably not for you.
Because HealthSapiens’ counselors are licensed as therapists, not psychiatrists, they can’t write any prescriptions. So if you seek pharmaceuticals as part of your therapy regimen (antidepressants, anti-anxiety medication, etc.), HealthSapiens won’t fulfill your needs.
HealthSapiens may also not be for you if you are looking for family or couples counseling. It currently only offers individual memberships.
At $197 per month, HealthSapiens’ telecounseling service is significantly more expensive than its telehealth service. To get started, you simply need to go to its website and sign up. Once you sign up, you will have an appointment with a master’s-level counselor. This counselor will take a detailed history, assess your needs, and match you up with a licensed therapist in your state.
This therapist will decide how often you will meet, up to eight times per six months. You will be charged additional fees for more sessions.
Also remember that once you sign up, you are immediately billed, regardless of whether you actually meet with a therapist or not. If you register for a free trial, you will be charged when you sign up; if you cancel before the end of the trial, your money will be refunded back to you, minus the $10 cancellation fee.
Telehealth service (medical): $35/month
This monthly subscription fee covers unlimited medical appointments for up to six members of your household. There is no individual membership.
Telecounseling service (mental health): $197/month
This monthly subscription fee covers a single individual for up to eight therapy sessions per six-month period. This works out to roughly $150 per session. There are no family or couples memberships.
HealthSapiens charges several fees that aren’t listed anywhere on its website. For example, if you exceed your eight counseling sessions per six-month period, HealthSapiens will charge you additional money for more sessions. Their customer service agents were unable to tell us how these extra sessions would cost.
There is no advertised fee for canceling your membership, but many people report that HealthSapiens charges a $10 termination fee.
HSA, FSA, and health insurance
HealthSapiens is independent of traditional health insurance companies. HealthSapiens doesn’t bill your insurance company, and you can’t submit claims to your insurance company for reimbursement. It is entirely out-of-pocket.
HealthSapiens currently works directly with small businesses to provide health benefit plans to their employees, but these are not traditional insurance plans.
HealthSapiens members almost universally rave about the value and quality of care they receive. However, many people complain about its poor customer service. Part of this is because HealthSapiens’ website leaves many questions about pricing and services unanswered.
For instance, nowhere does its public website state how many counseling sessions you are allotted as part of your subscription, or that you may be charged if you exceed this number. The $10 cancellation fee is also missing from its public website. Because of such a lack of transparency, many people are surprised when they receive unexpected bills.
People also note HealthSapiens’ poor response to questions and complaints. Our reviewers found this to be partially validated. Sometimes, our calls were answered instantly with only a minimal hold time while the employee looked for an answer to our questions. Other times, we faced long wait times before we even got a person on the line, and then people were unable to answer our questions. Employees tasked with talking to potential customers were unable to answer simple questions about pricing and accessing care without talking to a manager or referring us to another department. In one case, we were referred to the billing department and told we would receive a response within 24-48 hours–but the response never came.
HealthSapiens’ value depends a lot on your current healthcare costs and which services you are using. If you’re someone with straightforward problems who regularly uses medical care, particularly if you don’t have insurance or you have high co-pays, its telehealth service is a great value. Since it charges a flat subscription fee for unlimited medical visits, the more you use it, the better the value. If you have a large family, or if your kid is accident-prone, HealthSapiens’ medical services are a good choice.
HealthSapiens also makes a lot of sense for people who tend to need care outside of normal business hours. When your boss doesn’t give you time off for an appointment, or when you discover your kid gets a fever at 9 pm Saturday night, HealthSapiens’ immediate accessibility is a real selling point. You can also send messages directly to your provider, so even if you can’t get an appointment with your therapist right away, you can shoot him or her an email or text.
However, for people who already have excellent insurance with low co-pays, or who don’t require health care that often, HealthSapiens may not make sense. Since HealthSapiens is completely independent of insurance companies, its services may be redundant for those who are already covered.
Plus, the “sweet spot” of value for HealthSapiens’ telecounseling services is rather narrow. Since a single in-person therapy session can run $100-250, HealthSapiens’ $197 per month subscription would theoretically be worth it if you use it twice a month. The catch is, since HealthSapiens maxes out at eight sessions every six months, you may not be able to have more than one session per month. This makes HealthSapiens cost about $150 per session, which is comparable to other, traditional therapy sessions.
Also, some in-person therapists and even online telecounseling services like BetterHelp offer free or reduced-price sessions for those in financial need; HealthSapiens currently does not offer this.
HealthSapiens stores your health history and information in an electronic medical record (EMR), just like your regular doctor’s office does. This record is available for you and your providers to access. If you see more than one provider on HealthSapiens, later providers will be able to see earlier records from different providers. This information is managed and secured by third-party providers (i.e., not HealthSapiens), who have to abide by standards set by HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).
Physicians and counselors you consult via HealthSapiens are bound by the same privacy laws and standards applicable to in-person medical or mental health visits. If its providers don’t comply with these laws, HealthSapiens does not accept responsibility.