AbleTo Online Therapy Review

A virtual therapy platform that offers 8-week emotional support programs

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products. Healthcare professionals review articles for medical accuracy. Learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.
AbleTo

With over a decade in the industry, AbleTo is becoming a more popular option for people searching for quality online therapy covered by their health insurance. The platform provides one-on-one sessions with therapists and coaches over eight weeks using cognitive behavioral therapy techniques to address negative thinking patterns.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Key Facts
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Uses CBT techniques

  • Clear focus on eight-week emotional support programs

  • One-on-one sessions with a therapist or coach

  • Can choose your provider from a directory of qualified clinicians

  • Handouts, exercises, and other resources available

  • Accepts many major insurance plans

  • Offers a user-friendly mobile app

  • Serves all 50 states

Cons
  • Lacks in-depth bios for its providers

  • No in-person sessions

  • Not available to those without insurance

  • Provider reviews aren't available

  • Unclear pricing

  • Not as widely known as some other online therapy platforms

  • No medication management or psychiatry

  • Few providers available in some areas

Key Facts
Price
$0 (for 95% of users) and up
Is Insurance Accepted?
Yes
Type Of Therapy
Individual Therapy
Communication Options
Phone, Video Chat
HIPAA Compliant?
N/A
Is There an App?
Yes
Why Trust Us
55
Companies reviewed
5,775
Total users surveyed
350
Data points analyzed
We surveyed 105 users from each online therapy company and asked the companies to complete questionnaires. Then, we tested the services ourselves, conducted comprehensive data collection research, and evaluated our results with the help of three licensed therapists.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, about one in five adults in the U.S.—52.9 million people—experiences mental illness in a given year. Yet, only around 46% of adults with a mental illness received treatment in 2020. This is largely due to the fact that accessing mental health care can be difficult. Around 155 million people live in an area with an inadequate number of mental health providers.

Aiming to bridge the gap between people seeking emotional support and those who provide it, AbleTo is an online therapy and coaching platform that offers eight-week emotional support programs. With virtual care becoming an increasingly popular option for treatment, AbleTo could be a viable solution for those on a quest to begin or continue their journey toward emotional wellness—without ever having to leave the comfort of their home.

To better understand how AbleTo works and whether it's worth considering, we surveyed current and previous users, reached out to the company for more information, and spoke with a subject matter expert in the mental health field. I also signed up to experience one of its programs firsthand. Read on for an in-depth look at what we discovered about AbleTo and how well it addresses emotional needs.

What Is AbleTo?

Through its website and mobile app, AbleTo provides access to therapists and behavioral health coaches specializing in anxiety, depression, stress, and other mental health issues. Founded in 2008 by Michael B. Laskoff, an experienced telehealth executive and adviser, AbleTo has headquarters in New York City and provides virtual services to therapy seekers across the United States.

AbleTo is a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group, one of the largest healthcare companies in the world. As such, it has the financial backing and resources of a major corporation. This provides the platform with additional stability, credibility, and the means to scale up its services. In addition, AbleTo holds accreditation from the Utilization Review Accreditation Commission (URAC), a non-profit organization that sets standards for the quality and safety of care in the healthcare industry.

What Services Does AbleTo Offer?

AbleTo offers eight-week emotional support programs that include access to licensed therapists and behavioral health coaches for the duration of the program. Participants can schedule virtual sessions with their provider once or twice weekly, as well as take advantage of 24/7 access to the AbleTo app for tracking progress, practicing coping skills, and learning more about emotional wellness.

The eight-week programs support participants in managing their mental health symptoms, developing healthy coping mechanisms, and improving overall well-being. The programs are tailored to meet the individual needs of each participant, with a focus on addressing the root cause of their emotional distress.

Unlike many of its competitors, AbleTo focuses on short-term programs targeting specific emotional challenges rather than long-term therapy. With such a unique  approach, it's hard to tell whether this platform delivers quality care that leads to lasting results.

Who Is AbleTo For?

AbleTo serves users across the United States struggling with mental and emotional health issues stemming from distressing life circumstances, such as the loss of a job, the death of a loved one, or a chronic physical health issue. Using cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)—a type of psychotherapy that focuses on changing negative thought patterns and behaviors—AbleTo's providers help address the negative thoughts and behaviors that can contribute to mental strain.

AbleTo is a viable option for those with a participating insurance plan who cannot access traditional therapy services due to geographic location, financial constraints, or scheduling conflicts. With virtual care, therapy can be accessed from anywhere, making it a more convenient and accessible option for those in need.

Common conditions that AbleTo's programs can address include the following:

How Much Does AbleTo Cost?

AbleTo is only available to those with a participating health insurance plan, as the company contracts with insurance providers to offer its services at an affordable rate. The cost of participation in an AbleTo program varies depending on your insurance coverage, but the company estimates that 95% of participants pay no out-of-pocket costs for their eight-week program.

During my research, I was unable to find any information on AbleTo's billing or pricing structure outside of the company's estimate that most participants pay nothing out-of-pocket for the programs. However, AbleTo billed my insurance $160 for the initial consultation and $125 for therapy sessions—which I paid nothing for after my insurance company processed the claims.

Since AbleTo doesn't currently offer its services to those without insurance, the company's programs aren’t an option for everyone. "For the uninsured or underinsured, having self-pay options (and tools such as financial aid or sliding scale fees) is imperative," says Hannah Owens, LMSW, Mental Health Editor for Verywell Mind.

Owens compares AbleTo’s model to the many healthcare providers who don't accept insurance, which creates a barrier to care for patients on the other side of the spectrum. "Either way, having a policy of 'only this' or 'only that' is bound to be negative for some part of the population no matter what," she says.

Some participating health plans include:

  • Aetna
  • Asuris Northwest Health
  • AvMed
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • Harvard Pilgrim Health Care
  • HealthNet
  • HMSA
  • Innovation Health
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • Memorial Hermann
  • Oscar Health
  • UnitedHealthcare
  • UMR

Even with insurance coverage, potential AbleTo users may have to pay an out-of-pocket copay, coinsurance, or deductible to access the programs. Our survey of AbleTo users indicates that the cost of therapy with AbleTo varies widely, with 25% of participants reporting services as not very affordable or not at all affordable.

Does AbleTo Offer Discounts?

Since AbleTo only works with insurance, there are no available discounts for their services.

Navigating the AbleTo Website and App

The AbleTo website is clean and easy to navigate, with clear instructions on how to get started with the company's programs. Of the users we surveyed, 62% had an overall positive experience while using the site to sign up and progress through the program.

AbleTo1


Once on the homepage, you can click the "Learn more" button to begin enrollment. The top navigation bar contains links to the company's approach, impact, story, and information on how its programs work. You can also log into your existing account using the "Login" button or contact customer support using the "Contact Us" button—both located at the upper right-hand corner of the screen.

AbleTo2

As you scroll down the page, you'll find more information on how AbleTo's team of mental health professionals can help you transform your life using an evidence-based treatment plan. You’ll also see testimonials from past participants and outcomes from clinical studies conducted on AbleTo's programs.

At the bottom of the page, you'll find links to resources for health plans, employers, and therapy-seekers. There are also footer navigation links to FAQs, Careers, News, Contact, Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, Language Assistance, and Non-Discrimination Policy.

AbleTo3

The website also has an accessibility icon in the screen's lower right-hand corner, which takes you to a panel of accessibility features—such as font size, color contrast, spacing, and more—a welcome addition for many. As of January 2023, the website does not have a blog.

AbleTo has a relatively small social following compared to some of its competitors, with around 33,500 followers on LinkedIn, 2,000 on Facebook, 1,500 on Twitter, and under 1,000 on Instagram. The company's activity varies, ranging from a few times each month to longer stretches of inactivity.

Does AbleTo Have an App?

AbleTo does have an app that is available for iOS and Android devices and can be downloaded free from the App Store or Google Play. Once you've downloaded the app, you'll need to create an account before you can begin using it.

The app contains the same features as your private dashboard on the AbleTo website, including relaxation and mindfulness exercises, record-keeping tools, and printable handouts that coordinate with each week's lesson. You can also use the app to view scheduled appointments.

While convenient, the app lacks a messaging function for quick, direct communication with your therapist or customer support—which may be a drawback for some.

How Do You Sign Up for Therapy at AbleTo?

The sign-up process for therapy at AbleTo is quick and easy, with most of the enrollment process taking place online.

Once on the homepage, click the "Learn more" button to begin the process. You're prompted to enter your insurance provider from the drop-down menu. If your insurance isn't listed, you must call customer support to learn more about your coverage options.

After selecting your insurance provider, you'll enter basic personal information—including your name and date of birth. Next, you're asked to enter the member ID from your insurance card to confirm your coverage. Once coverage is approved (usually in seconds) and you provide contact information, a list of available providers in your area will appear.

Choosing a Therapist at AbleTo

The interface for choosing a therapist is bare-bones, with little information about each provider other than their name, gender, language, and years of experience. However, you can see which therapists are available for appointments and their schedules for the next few weeks. This allows you to choose a provider solely based on your availability.

Of the almost 20 clinician options in my home state of Indiana, I saw available times from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. each day, including weekends. Evening options needed to be improved, with only a few offering appointments after 5:00 pm. However, the schedule spanned out about 15 days, and I was able to schedule as early as the next day.

The therapist directory lacks some filtering options available on other platforms, such as the ability to choose a therapist based on their specialty, background, or approach.  There's also no bio or picture available for the providers, which makes it difficult to get a sense of their personalities. I relied on outside research using Google and LinkedIn to learn more about each person before selecting.

Licensed clinical social workers were the only type of provider available in my area, but other states may have different offerings. I found a therapist with over a decade’s experience, based on her availability and the information I found while researching off-platform. The need for bios and pictures is a significant drawback and would have influenced my decision to move forward with a different platform.

“Without detailed bios, it’s difficult for therapy seekers to determine if any given therapist is a good fit for them,” says Owens. “Even basic information, such as the therapist's area of expertise or a photo of the provider, is important when choosing a therapist, as these things provide insight into the therapist's identity (which can be especially helpful to therapy seekers who belong to marginalized communities and need a therapist with a similar background) and what the therapy process will be like.”

How Do Therapy Sessions Work at AbleTo?

I scheduled my first hour-long phone appointment with my new therapist for the following day with the click of a button. After confirming your appointment, you create a password for your private portal—where you'll access all your resources and weekly content. You can log in using the browser or app on your phone or computer.

Messaging Your Therapist

Unlike some other online therapy platforms, AbleTo doesn't have a messaging feature allowing you to contact your therapist outside your weekly appointment. This may be a drawback for some users who prefer frequent communication with their providers. Depending on your provider, contact outside of weekly sessions may be possible via email, but this will vary.

During my program, I received a message from my therapist using Virtru, a secure email service that allows you to encrypt messages. After opening the email and clicking the link, I could read my therapist's message. This process was cumbersome, but I appreciated the extra level of security for sensitive information.

Video Sessions

While my sessions took place over the phone, AbleTo also offers video sessions for those who prefer face-to-face interaction. I didn't have the opportunity to test this feature, as availability depends on the therapist's preferences. You must sign a consent before your first video session.

Audio Sessions

My audio sessions lasted between 45 and 60 minutes. Each week on my scheduled day and time, I received a call from my provider. We used the phone to conduct our sessions, but I could use the app or website to follow along with the session content.

I appreciated being able to log into my account to visualize the list of topics we covered during each session and access any resources my therapist recommended—such as printables for tracking symptoms and monitoring moods and triggers.

The audio quality was clear, and I experienced no connection issues during the sessions. At the start of each session, my therapist verified I was in a safe and private location before diving into the week's content. I felt comfortable enough to have a typical conversation with her, even though we weren’t in the same room.

What Happens If I Miss a Session at AbleTo?

The company's rescheduling and cancellation policy states that missing more than two consecutive sessions results in the cancellation of your next appointment. Your program may be paused, reviewed, and potentially terminated if you continually miss appointments.

If you need to cancel or reschedule a session, you can do so from the email confirmation with 24 hours' notice. After clicking on the reschedule link, you're directed to a page asking for additional information on when you would like to reschedule. After submitting the request, your therapist must approve the change before it's finalized.

Overall, the process of rescheduling an appointment could be more user-friendly. A calendar feature to select a new date and time would be helpful, rather than having to type out the request and wait for approval.

Switching Therapists at AbleTo

If you'd like to switch therapists at AbleTo, you'll have to contact customer service by phone or email to request a change. After sending your initial request, a clinical program advisor will contact you to help find a new provider that's a better fit. The process takes a few days to a week to complete.

Pausing or Canceling Therapy at AbleTo

Unfortunately, the online portal only offers a way to pause or cancel your service with assistance. Pausing or canceling your remaining therapy sessions requires customer service approval via email or phone. 

I contacted customer service to cancel via email, and the representative I spoke with was very friendly and helpful. After my initial outreach, I received a follow-up email confirming she had requested the cancellation on my behalf. Later that day, I received a phone call and secured message from my provider asking to confirm my decision to cancel. After speaking with my provider to verify, she canceled the remainder of our sessions.

Overall, the process was relatively straightforward. My therapist was understanding and didn't try to pressure me into continuing my service. However, I wish there was an easier way to cancel without having to physically contact customer service—such as a cancel button on the online portal.

Quality of Care and User Satisfaction

In our user survey to assess patient satisfaction, 89% rated AbleTo as good to excellent overall. Fifty-two percent of users said their therapist met all their needs, while another 27% said their therapist had mostly met their needs. Eighty-four percent of users rated their therapist's qualifications as good to excellent.


While survey results are more positive than negative, only 55% of AbleTo users said they would use the platform again in the future based on their previous experience with the company.

Overall, user satisfaction with AbleTo is average compared to other online therapy providers. The company's lack of transparency is concerning, however, as it's difficult to get a clear picture of the quality of care you can expect based on its website alone. There's minimal information available on provider qualifications, program specifics, and other factors that impact user experience.

According to Owens, outcome-based mental health treatment, such as the programs offered by AbleTo, involves getting a "bio-psycho-social view of the client"—which requires a detailed understanding of the user's specific problem, life circumstances, and social context. Because of this, interim treatment may not be as effective as long-term treatment, such as traditional talk therapy.

"For short-term, outcome-based treatment, eight weeks might be sufficient, but generally, programs like this last twelve or sixteen weeks—up to twice as much as what AbleTo promises," Owens says. These extended programs give therapists more time to uncover the root cause of the therapy seeker's problem and develop a more comprehensive treatment plan.

Unfortunately, AbleTo didn't answer our company questionnaire, so we cannot provide specific insights from the company itself. I was also unable to find AbleTo therapists or coaches willing to speak with me about their experience working for the company. However, according to Indeed, employees rate AbleTo 3.5 out of 5 stars, with the lowest scores for job security and advancements.

That said, I was pleasantly surprised with the program and the quality of care I received from my provider. I was initially skeptical after combing through the website, but my experience overall was positive. I appreciate how quickly the customer service team responded to my requests, and the therapist I spoke with was knowledgeable and patient. However, AbleTo's short-term focus makes it a less-than-ideal solution for those with long-term mental health issues.

Privacy Policies at AbleTo

AbleTo's privacy policy and terms of use are available on the website. The privacy policy outlines how personal information is collected, used, and shared. It also explains the steps taken to protect user data. Of note, the policy states personal information may be shared with third-party service providers, such as insurance companies and businesses providing services to AbleTo (e.g., third-party email management and software providers).

AbleTo claims not to "disclose, share, or sell" any personally identifiable information, unless authorized to do so by the user, required by law, or necessary to prevent fraud. it also claims to protect social security numbers through "physical, technical, and administrative safeguards." You have the right to request the deletion of your personal information at any time. However, there are exceptions, such as if the information is necessary to provide service or required by law.

Overall, AbleTo's policies are relatively standard. Still, it's worth noting that personal information may be shared with third-party service providers.

AbleTo vs. Its Competitors

AbleTo's programs use CBT techniques as its primary form of treatment. This is similar to other online therapy providers, such as Online-Therapy.com—a virtual therapy provider that offers CBT-based programs for those experiencing anger, anxiety, depression, relationship problems, and more.

Like AbleTo, Online-Therapy.com offers weekly and twice-weekly session options. However, Online-Therapy.com uses a subscription-based model and does not accept insurance. Users pay a set monthly fee (between $160 and $320) for access to the therapy program. In contrast, AbleTo's programs require insurance, and costs vary depending on the user's insurance plan.

Although Online-Therapy.com doesn’t accept insurance, users reap the benefits of unlimited messaging, interactive journaling, and video yoga and meditation exercises—features not offered by AbleTo. That said, according to our survey, 85% of respondents rated the platform as good to excellent overall—just 4% shy of AbleTo's 89% rating. Therapists at Online-Therapy.com met all or most of the therapy seekers' needs 72% of the time, compared to AbleTo's 79%.

Other competitors, like Grow Therapy, help users connect with virtual and in-person therapists in their state who accept their insurance. This may be a good option for those who want to find care covered by their insurance without being bound by the predetermined length of treatment offered by AbleTo.

Unlike AbleTo, providers listed on Grow Therapy have a detailed bio and picture on their profile—allowing users to learn more about the therapist before connecting. However, satisfaction ratings were slightly lower for Grow Therapy, with 82% of users rating their experience as good to excellent overall.

While AbleTo received a high overall user rating, it wasn’t the highest scoring of the companies we surveyed. Teladoc, for example, has a 97% positive user satisfaction rating, and Doctor on Demand has a 94% positive user satisfaction rating.

Final Verdict

AbleTo’s program-based therapy is a great option for those seeking a focused, structured approach to treatment covered by many insurance plans. The company's eight-week programs offer a way to address specific concerns and work towards specific goals. However, there are some drawbacks—mostly in terms of user-friendliness and understanding the program offerings and terms.

Selecting a provider, rescheduling, and canceling service could be more streamlined. Additionally, more detailed information on providers (such as their background information and areas of expertise) would be helpful. The website also needs more detailed information on its programs, such as the requirements and expectations of each.

Overall, I would recommend AbleTo to a specific audience—namely, those looking for an insurance-covered, short-term approach to therapy. It's a good option if you have clear goals in mind and prefer a structured plan of treatment for situational or temporary concerns. For those looking for a longer-term approach to therapy or for more personalized, interactive features—such as unlimited messaging—AbleTo may not be the best choice.

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. Then, we worked with three subject matter experts to get their expert analysis on how suited this company is to provide quality care to therapy seekers.

1 Source
Verywell Mind 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. National Alliance on Mental Illness. Mental health by the numbers.

By Lindsay Modglin
Lindsay is a nurse-turned professional mental health and wellness writer with 9+ years of clinical healthcare experience.

Edited by
Ally Hirschlag
Allison "Ally" Hirschlag

Ally is a senior editor for Verywell, who covers topics in the health, wellness, and lifestyle spaces. She has written for The Washington Post, The Guardian, BBC Future, and more.

Learn about our editorial process
and
Simone Scully
simone-scully-verywell

Simone is the health editorial director for performance marketing at Verywell. She has over a decade of experience as a professional journalist covering mental health, chronic conditions, medicine, and science.

Learn about our editorial process