Last updated on July 19th, 2022 at 11:42 am
Therapy and counseling can be extremely beneficial. Trying to find a counselor that you are comfortable with and can afford? Not really fun. When it comes to the question of “How to find a therapist that takes my insurance?”, finding the answer leaves many people discouraged or overwhelmed. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be as difficult as it seems.
The mental strain of finding a therapist that takes your insurance can feel overwhelming, especially if you are trying to manage a condition like BPD, or are going through a divorce. Despite this challenge, therapy is often more accessible and affordable than it seems. This is especially true today thanks to the surge in online therapy and counseling.
Tips For How To Find A Therapist That Takes Your Insurance
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Affordable Care Act insurance plans that are found on the marketplace and in the individual and small group categories are required to cover mental health services. Additionally, all Medicaid plans along with a large majority of major employers do cover mental health care at least partly. Even if you don’t have access to insurance, there are still options out there for you.As a BetterHelp afﬁliate, we may receive compensation from BetterHelp if you purchase products or services through the links provided.
Contact Your Insurance Provider
Tip #1 may seem obvious, but the first thing you should do is to contact your insurance provider and inquire about mental health coverage. You may have luck looking on their online portal, but you may be better off giving them a call and speaking to a live rep.
You should also be able to find full coverage details in the plan information documents that you received when you were enrolled, however, those documents are almost always impossible to fully understand. To simplify things, we recommend calling your insurance provider’s member services number and asking the following questions:
- Is there a copay for therapy visits in my plan?
- If I want to seek therapy, am I required to get a referral from my primary doctor or preapproval from you, the insurer?
- Are out-of-network counselors or therapists covered?
- Are all mental health professionals covered, or only particular specialties?
Asking these questions is the first step to finding out which coverage you have, so you can then begin looking for a therapist that accepts your insurance.
Find An In-Network Therapist
Once you know what type of mental health coverage you have, you can now find a counselor that takes your insurance. Tip #2 is that staying in-network is just about always the more affordable route to go.
To start, try looking through your provider’s online directory. However, if you find that the website is difficult to navigate, don’t hesitate to once again call your insurance company. Tell them that you would like a list of in-network therapists in your area. Be sure to tell them the exact type of therapy you are looking for, whether it’s for crippling anxiety and depression, if you have signs of anger issues, or even if you need black marriage counseling.
Unfortunately, it can sometimes be really difficult to find a therapist in-network who is accepting new patients.
You will have more options if you are fortunate enough to have some out-of-network coverage. Be aware that this may cost you. There may be a deductible before coverage begins, and some policies will only provide minimal help. Not to mention there may be additional forms and paperwork to fill out.
What If I Can’t Find A Therapist That Takes My Insurance?
If you don’t have health insurance or feel like you have exhausted all of your insurance options, then you may still have some of the following options.
Therapists Who Use Sliding Scales
A typical out-of-pocket counseling session will cost between $100-$250 depending on where you live and the provider. Luckily, some mental health providers operate on what is called a “sliding scale”. This means that the fees that they charge will vary based on several key factors including a client’s income. The discount that they give is completely up to them, though.
Most therapists will state on their website or online profile if they accept patients on a sliding scale. It is perfectly fine to ask a therapist what their rate is and whether or not they operate on a sliding scale. Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed to try to negotiate a lower rate. Just be prepared to justify your reasoning for asking for a larger discount.
If you live near a college or university, you might consider seeing someone who is currently working on becoming a mental health practitioner. While they are technically still students, they do work under the close supervision of a licensed professional, and they always charge lower rates.
A clinician-in-training may also be willing to spend more time with you and have more eagerness to help you. They are benefiting from learning from you, so they may put forth a little extra energy into your case. It’s a win-win.
Call around to see if a college or university near you has a training clinic open to the general public.
Community Or Government Funded Health Centers
Some areas have health care facilities that sliding scale, low-fee, and sometimes even completely free health care to folks with lower income. While most provide only physical health services, some do offer mental health services, as well.
In order to find these types of facilities, you will need to google the department of behavioral health or mental health authority in your area. They should be able to provide you with information about these kinds of facilities, including their contact information. Alternatively, you could check the website of the Health Resources & Services Administration.
Last, but certainly not least, you could give online therapy a try. Online counseling options such as BetterHelp are typically less expensive than traditional in-person counseling, and many online therapy sites take insurance.
You may be questioning if online therapy is as effective as classic therapy. The quick answer is yes, so long as you are paired with a licensed professional. There have been numerous studies conducted that ultimately concluded that Internet-based CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) was seemingly as effective as in-person CBT for treating many mental health issues.
Virtual therapy is still relatively new, but it is rapidly growing. The main is key to ensure that you are receiving quality care, and if possible, work with an online therapy service that takes your insurance. The same advice is given above about contacting your insurance company and the online therapy provider to ensure that your treatment is covered.
Finding a therapist that takes your insurance or who offers a good price is just the initial step. It’s crucial that you have trust in the counselor enough that you are willing to be honest and open so that you can work together on your treatment plan.
Don’t be afraid to discuss with your new therapist your insurance situation or the possibility of working on a sliding scale if you don’t have insurance. You will find that most are sensitive to personal financial situations and are willing to be flexible with clients.
Check out this article if you’re wondering how to talk to a therapist for the first time.As a BetterHelp afﬁliate, we may receive compensation from BetterHelp if you purchase products or services through the links provided.