When you are concerned about your Mental Healthgetting professional help is often an important step in feeling better
But amid barriers — such as stigma and the lack of available therapists in some places — many people also can’t afford the cost of care, and they find they somehow have to pay for it. in the pocket.
The average cost of a therapy the session costs more than $180, according to a report from Zencare, a website where people can search for therapists. Prices rise even more in parts of the United States where the cost of living is higher. Cost of therapy may be extra stressin addition to any other mental health issues you are dealing with at the time.
Federal law requires health insurance provided by large employers or via health care market to cover the treatment of mental health at levels similar to those at which it covers physical health. But less than 40% of therapists network with even one health plan. This can make it difficult to find a therapist who takes your insurance.
If you go through an in-network provider, the therapist will bill your insurer directly and you will only be responsible for your share or co-insurance charges, after your deductible. If you use an out-of-network provider, the insurer may cover a smaller portion of the cost, depending on your policy, but you’ll need to pay the cost up front and then file a claim.
Keep in mind that insurers will generally only cover your treatment if you have a medical diagnosis, to treat a condition such as the Depression or anxiety. But you owe it to your Mental Health to know exactly what resources are available.
If you’re hoping to use your insurance to help offset the cost of mental health treatment, here’s what you need to know.
Start with your insurer
Log into your insurer’s online portal or call the number on the back of your health insurance card to confirm if your policy covers mental health treatment and if there are any requirements you need to be aware of.
If you get your insurance coverage through work, you might also consider asking your human resources department to clarify your mental health benefits, if you’re comfortable doing so.
The insurance company portal should also allow you to search a directory of in-network therapists, filtering on things like specialty or location.
Once you’ve found a few potential therapists, call their offices to confirm that your insurer’s information is still accurate. Many therapists offer potential clients a free 15-minute consultation, where you can discuss the issues you want to address, get a feel for their style, and talk about pricing and payment. You’ll need a therapist who sees you regularly (or offers appointments online) and who has worked with people with conditions similar to yours.
“The first thing is to feel comfortable,” says Elizabeth Jarquin, PhD, a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice and adjunct professor at Northcentral University. “If you don’t feel comfortable sharing your deepest, darkest secrets with them, you might want to keep looking.”
Try online therapy
Since so few therapists accept insurance, even if you can find one that does take your insurance, they may not accept new patients. You may have more options if you are open to working with a therapist via telehealth.
“People need to understand that telehealth over the phone or videoconference can be as effective as in person. psychotherapysays Lynn Bufka, PhD, the American Psychological Association’s associate chief for practice transformation. “These terms can open up a wider universe of potential vendors, since you can see anyone who is authorized in your state.”
Telehealth can be an especially useful option if you live in a rural area or another part of the country with limited in-person options, and more insurers have started covering these services over the pandemic.
Consider lower cost options without insurance
If you’ve tried but can’t find mental health treatment through your insurance, you may still have other affordable options.
Most large companies offer an employee assistance program (EAP) to their employees, and some offer free access to tips for short-term mental health issues.
Another option is to ask a potential therapist if they have a sliding scale for their fees. Some therapists will lower their prices for people facing financial hardship or other challenges and cannot get help through insurance.
Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHC) can also offer patients free or low-cost treatment for mental health and addictions. There are over 400 across the country, and you can find one using this online tool.