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Is Therapy Covered By Insurance?

One of the deterrents when finding a therapist is how expensive therapy is. When you’re looking for a mental health professional, it’s optimal to find someone who takes your insurance. However, that’s not always possible. In major cities like New York or Los Angeles, for example, it can be daunting to search through your insurance provider’s listings and find somebody who specializes in the issues you’re dealing with and is accepting new clients. Therapists that accept insurance are typically overloaded with clients because people snatch them up quickly. It can be challenging and downright frustrating to score a good therapist that takes your insurance because everyone in a similar situation will want to see that person. In some cases, it feels like finding a good fit is like locating a unicorn. So, you might be wondering, “How can I find a reasonably priced therapist? Does that person exist?” Probably not, but it’s a good idea to look.

Is therapy covered by insurance?

This question is a valid one: Is therapy covered by insurance? And the answer varies. Sometimes, yes. Sometimes, no. It depends on the quality of your insurance coverage. Good insurance will cover mental health services. Great insurance will cover mental wellness, and great insurance will include a behavioral health plan. Just because your insurance plan is excellent, doesn’t mean that therapy will be covered. Even if your insurance does cover mental health care, it may only cover a minuscule portion of your treatment.

Out-of-network providers

You may contact a therapist upon finding their profile on a counseling website, identifying that they would be a good fit for you. Then, you talk to them, and they say the following: “I do not take health insurance. However, you can see me as an out-of-network provider and get reimbursed through your insurance company.” It’s is a tempting offer. You might be thinking, This is a great deal! I can pay upfront and get my money back.” Or, at least some of it. Insurance companies sometimes cover or reimburse up to about 70 percent of the cost of therapy. But it’s not that simple. Here’s the thing: Insurance companies have extremely high deductibles, so you may end up paying for this person from your pocket, out of what could’ve been your rent money, before you even receive one cent back. So, this “out of network” mythological prize is…not a trophy at all.

So, is therapy covered through insurance?

There’s no easy answer to that question because it all depends on how your insurance company works, what their requirements are for you to receive mental health care, and what they cover. The only way to find out the answer to this question is to call your insurance company directly and ask them straight up: “Do I have mental health coverage?” If the answer is yes, ask further questions like, “How many sessions of therapy do I get per year?” because you don’t want to go into treatment thinking that you have unlimited sessions and find out that only 10 are covered. Get all of the information you can before walking into a therapist’s office and thinking everything is sorted out. You need to know if there is a deductible or a co-payment for you to manage. What do you need to do to gain access to services? You need to get all of the facts before you find a therapist to go to every week.

Online counseling

If therapy isn’t covered through your insurance, online counseling is an excellent option. You’ll know upfront how much it will cost you. Check out online counseling as an alternative to going to an insured provider. It is affordable, flexible, and you can see a licensed professional from the comfort of your own home. Whether you’re working with a counselor online or in your local area, it’s important to know what you’ll be paying for and if you can get reimbursed for what you spend up front. Know the facts. Call your insurance company and advocate for yourself because you are your advocate.

Getty photo by monkeybusinessimages

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