Updated on January 13th, 2022

Breakthrough is on a mission to make counseling and psychiatry accessible to all its members regardless of location. The service, which offers more than mental health care, has board-certified physicians to deal with many aspects of human health. Does Breakthrough deliver on its promise? We look at the pros and cons of this service below.

Pros and Cons of Breakthrough Counseling

At first glance, the service seems comprehensive as it includes a variety of specialists for various ailments. But, there is more to it than that.

What Is Breakthrough?

Breakthrough is a telehealth platform acquired by a major company called MDLIVE. Created in 2009 to give patients easy access to medical care at any time or place, the platform has been largely successful to date.

Like most teletherapy platforms that focus solely on online therapy, Breakthrough has various professionals who can handle several mental health conditions. It also offers a variety of counseling channels to cater to users’ individual needs.

We’ve conducted an unbiased review focusing on every aspect of If you’re wondering whether this service will be a good fit for you, here’s everything you need to know.

What Services Does Breakthrough Offer?

Breakthrough therapy is done over the phone or video. Some of the services offered include:

Call Therapy

Breakthrough offers phone therapy in some states, depending on the relevant laws. At an appointed time, your counselor initiates a phone session. Your phone number is not revealed to protect your identity.

Video Counseling

Video therapy offers one advantage over all other forms of teletherapy—nonverbal cues. Your therapist gets to assess your condition based on your narration as well as body language. It’s also a great way to familiarize yourself with who you’re working with.

To have your counseling session over video, you’ll need:

✓ Windows 7, Vista, or XP

✓ Mac running OSX 10.6 (Snow Leopard) or superior

✓ A webcam with 1.3 megapixels or more

✓ A reliable, highspeed internet connection

✓ After setting up an account, you’re directed to a simple online simulation to test whether you’re ready for a video counseling session

How Good Are Therapists On

MDLIVE has professionals from most metropolitan areas of the U.S., and it adds new provided to the network every day. Although patients can add their preferred therapist to the platform, MDLIVE staff must check the provider’s credentials and issue approval first.

Therapists on the platform have specialized in different areas of mental health. According to the website, all service providers are board-certified and state-licensed with an average of 15+ years of experience.

The company claims to have one of the industry’s highest provider ratings, with 9 out of 10 people agreeing that they would recommend the service to their friends and family members.

What Issues Do Breakthrough Therapists Treat?

According to the MDLIVE website, the online therapy service treats more than 80 common conditions. While some conditions are related to general health, several are related to mental health.

Breakthrough therapy is for you if you’re dealing with any of these conditions:

✓ Addictions

✓ Anxiety

✓ ADHD (non-stimulant medical management)

✓ Bipolar disorder

✓ Depression

✓ Grief and loss

✓ LGBTQ+ support

✓ Life changes

✓ Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

✓ Panic disorders

✓ Parenting support

✓ Phobias

✓ Relationship issues

✓ Stress management

✓ Trauma & PTSD

It is important to note that Breakthrough therapy only deals with non-emergency conditions. The platform suggests that you go to an Urgent Care Center or Emergency Room depending on the severity of your mental health issue.

Other behavioral health issues that the service doesn’t deal with include:

✓ Active hallucinations or delusions

✓ Conditions that require lab work or diagnostic imaging to determine final treatment, unless you have the lab work already done and need it reviewed.

✓ Mental health issues for patients under the age of 10

✓ Substance use in an active medical detox

✓ ADHD prescription of a stimulant

✓ Suicidal ideation

✓ Homicidal ideation

✓ Moderate to severe autism spectrum disorders

✓ Any conditions that prevent you from being able to carry out day-to-day activities

✓ MDLIVE is licensed to write medical prescriptions for a variety of issues. However, there’s a limitation to the medications the service provides

Some of the drugs they are not authorized to prescribe include:

✓ DEA-controlled substances, e.g., ADHD stimulants, sleep medication, anti-anxiety medication)

✓ Medications for intramuscular injections

✓ Detox medications

✓ Drugs with potential for abuse, e.g., muscle relaxants

✓ Stimulants, e.g., Adderall

✓ Medications that require lab work when lab work is not present for review

Breakthrough Pricing

Your first session on the Breakthrough platform will cost $0-$284, depending on your insurance. Follow-up appointments cost at least $108 per session.

The exact cost of the service depends on which provider you choose. Because the company allows therapists to set their price, one session can cost $400.

MDLIVE accepts works with several insurance providers. This makes it one of the few teletherapy platforms that allow users with insurance covers to pay less.

While the price per session might seem costly, it helps to have your insurance company help. However, for users without insurance looking for a cheap alternative to in-person therapy, this service may not be the best fit.

The payment plan is on a per-session basis. You’re charged after choosing to consult with a therapist, and your appointment time and payment information are confirmed. If you cancel your appointment at least 24 hours before the scheduled time, you’ll receive a full refund.

How Does Breakthrough Work?

To get mental health services on this platform, you have to sign up and choose a counselor. The process is simple and straightforward.

Step 1. Create a Free Account

Signing up for the Breakthrough service is free. To get started, you must create an account by filling out a form.

You’ll be required to provide the following details:

✓ Email

✓ Password

✓ Home ZIP code

✓ Date of birth

The service allows you to add a dependent to your existing account. This allowance is especially important for those who intend to use insurance to pay for treatment.

Step 2. Create Your Profile

To create a profile, fill in your name and gender.

Step 3. Check Coverage

You might be eligible for reduced-cost visits and other benefits offered through your employer, insurance company, or benefit group.

At the third step of the signup process, you’re required to check whether MDLIVE accepts your insurance provider, employer, or benefit group. If you’re not sure or don’t have your insurance information on hand, you can add and modify these details later. However, you’ll be charged the full cost of each session until that information is added.

If you have the details, you proceed to give your member 1D and state whether you’re insured as a dependent. As a dependent, you’ll have to enter the primary policyholder’s information.

Step 4. Choose Your Counselor

Breakthrough clients are allowed to choose their counselors. You’ll get a list of professionals categorized by locations, services offered, specialty, and the insurance they accept. Users can refer a therapist to the service, but they may not be added immediately as they have to be vetted first.

Your counseling session is recorded in the company’s secure database. If your counselor prescribed medication, the prescription is sent electronically to whichever pharmacy you prefer. If you’re required to get medical tests, you can select a lab near you and have the lab work sent back to your counselor electronically.

During your session, your counselor may recommend that you seek further care. They may refer you to another provider or facility.

User Experience

After signing up for Breakthrough online therapy, you get access to your private dashboard. Here, you can:

✓ set up appointments

✓ send private messages

✓ upload photos of your symptoms or prescription

✓ choose a pharmacy to order your medication from

✓ choose a lab to get work done or upload your lab work

The MDLIVE website is user-friendly and easy to navigate. All the information you need and the functionalities are clearly displayed in an accessible format.

The company also has an app that allows users to access therapy conveniently, even when they’re away from their desktops. The app can be used for chatting with counselors and the support team.

Customer Support

The service has a comprehensive FAQ section with answers to most of the questions one may have before using the service. Additionally, you may contact MDLIVE customer service through the toll-free line 888-632-2738. You may also send an email to [email protected]. Going by the Breakthrough reviews on the website, the support team answers queries fast.

Privacy and Confidentiality

Confidentiality is a major aspect of MDLIVE’s operations. The company has a Code of Ethics that its service providers enforce.

It also ascribes to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule that requires employees working for the platform to access only the minimum amount of patient information that allows them to do their job.

Rather than having access to the full profile of your personal and health information, counselors are only given what is truly needed at the time.

According to the MDLIVE website, your personal health information can only be shared with your primary care provider as required by relevant state and federal laws.

The Bottom Line: Is Breakthrough Worth It?

Breakthrough is the service for you if you’ve got insurance, may need some prescriptions, or want access to a variety of professionals. However, if you’re looking for a cheap option you might want to check out other online counseling services.

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