Using Health Insurance for Mental Health Treatment
There are many ways to pay for mental health treatment. You can save money each session by using a FSA/HSA, also known as a Health Savings Account, by talking with your therapist about bulk session rates or sliding scale, or by using health insurance.
If you are thinking about using health insurance for counseling, I'm happy to help. Therapy is an investment in yourself and health insurance can be an incredible asset if you would like to make regular mental health care more attainable.
There are many great things about using insurance for therapy, and a couple of drawbacks: your insurance company will require you to have a diagnosis for a mental health condition, and they will have the right to know your diagnosis and ask about your treatment and treatment notes. Your insurance may refuse to cover sessions if they decide that is what they want to do. It's good to know these things so you can make a decision that works best for you.
I encourage you to explore all of your options so you can make an informed decision before you use your healthcare benefits. I'm happy to help.
A Note on Telehealth and Online Counseling
You may see that I am in network with your insurance provider, which is great! Before we get started, I will call your insurance provider to be sure that my services will also be covered for telehealth/online counseling. Every plan is different and some major insurance providers want to redirect clients to their automated platforms when they can. This saves the insurance companies money, but it limits your choices in who you choose as a therapist. It is always a very good idea to call your insurance provider before your first session and at the beginning of each new year when your plan renews. This helps cut down on any unwanted surprises and helps insure smooth coverage for services.
The U.S. "No Surprises Act"
All of my services cost the same price, which is very useful if you do not like surprise bills!
In the United States, the No Surprises Act went into effect on January 1, 2022 and requires any and all medical providers in the to notify the public of their federally protected right to receive information about the costs of medical services. This act is important to anyone who receives medical care. The No Surprises Act mandates that all healthcare providers be forthcoming and honest about their prices before services are rendered.
If you have ever had to go into a hospital and receive a service, like an x-ray, and then later received bills from multiple businesses and providers, or even worse, received a bill that your insurance refused to cover, then you can really feel how helpful it is to know your costs upfront. Here is an official government link to this information:
I’ve written about it here because therapy/counseling is a medical service.
Part of my job is to make sure you feel comfortable talking about your own finances. I want to be sure that every client I work with knows their rights. I’m a one-woman-show, so you will never be surprised by therapy with a stranger or a surprise provider. My hope is to empower my clients, so we will always be able to work in a collaboration, focused on your goals… and your budget.
Before you begin therapy, we will talk about costs. insurance coverage, and anything else you have questions about. I want to be sure that you feel comfortable and have time to make an empowered decision about when and if you would like to schedule a session.
You will know exactly what you should pay before you ever start therapy. You will also know your costs in case insurance decides they don’t want to pay for your therapy (this has never happened yet, but things do happen). Knowledge is power!
Know Your Coverage and Know Your Rights
Insurance can be confusing. If you are under stress right now, you may not have the bandwidth to process all of these options alone. It’s a great idea to discuss your possibilities with another person.
You always have choices. You can decide to start or stop using insurance coverage at any point in your treatment, as long as you communicate your wishes ahead of time. You may be able to apply for sliding-scale treatment costs, pre-paid visits at a discount, use pre-tax dollars, or work out a plan that better fits your budget.
I’m happy to talk with you about your options so you can make the very best decision for you and your life. If you do choose to use an insurance plan that I am in-network with, I will call the insurance company before your first visit to verify your eligibility and copay. I encourage each client to also call their insurance company to learn more and have any questions answered.